ANZAC ALLIED CEMETERY OF MOUDROS
Hundreds of visitors each year from across the globe come to pay homage to a relative, friend, or compatriot, who has laid to rest in Lemnian earth. Many are Australian, but also a plethora of travelers from other countries visit the site as part of an emotive pilgrimage to the Allied Cemetery of Moudros, tracing a path of historical memory, which, for a hundred years now, has been connecting people from both ends of the earth.
The Allied cemetery of Moudros is located on the road to Roussopouli, and it is here where hundreds of soldiers of the Gallipoli campaign are laid to rest. 148 Australians and 76 New Zealanders, as well as other nationalities are buried here. The site is regularly visited by descendants of the fallen, as well as anyone with a keen understanding of the history and events pertaining to the Gallipoli campaign (that were dramatised in the movie, Gallipoli, starring Mel Gibson). It is well worth a visit in order to learn and better understand the history of Lemnos, and to remember the dramatic incidents that unfolded in the Dardanelles, and their links to the peaceful bay of Moudros today. A century ago, in the turmoil of the First World War, the allied forces of Britain and France decided to embark on a conquest campaign to reclaim the Straits of the Dardanelles from the Turks. The aim was to give their Russian allies in the “Triple Entente” access to the port and shipping lanes, thus entry to the Hellespont and access to the strategically important Aegean sea.
ANZAC ALLIED CEMETERY OF PORTIANOU
In the village Portianou, there is the second allied cemetery of Lemnos, as well as the mansion in which Winston Churchill stayed briefly during his tenure as First Lord of the British Admiralty. The Portianou cemetery is smaller than that in Moudros, but has just as much historical significance. It lies next to the church of the Virgin Mary. At Portianou, are 352 graves of fallen soldiers from the campaign for the conquest of the Straits of the Dardanelles. The soldiers were British, French, Australians, New Zealanders, Egyptian and Indian and ranging in age from 17 to 56. Full details of the identity of the deceased, came from Italy and the layout of the cemetery began as early as August 1915, during the height of fighting at Gallipoli, with the cemetery remaining in use until 1920.
Near the village Portianou, right by the sea, in an evocative landscape, another cemetery was built during the First World War called “Arapiko” in honor of the anonymous dead who are buried in the area and come mainly from Egypt, but also from Turkey, and were probably captured in Gallipoli, detained and died on the island between 1917-1919.
Few architectural specimens have survived from more than four centuries of Ottoman occupation of the island. The fountains, formerly the center of social life in every village, that bear elaborately decorated pediments, arches and reliefs are a small reminder of Ottoman Lemnos.
The complex of baths in Therma, although restored, still retain Ottoman elements, including the dome of the Turkish hammam.
In the town of Myrina, at the port, there is a preserved building with an inlaid inscription, referring to the great Turkish poet of the 17th century named Niyazi Misri. Misri, who was exiled and died in Lemnos, was poet of love and a fierce revolutionary. Over time buildings were developed in the Muslim district of the island. In the second half of the 20th century, the buildings were gradually demolished and now, outside the building with the inscription, one fountain from 1771 survives, built in honor of Kapikiran Mehmed Pascha.
Finally, in the town castle two dilapidated buildings survive, one was the mosque belonging to the castle and the second, a large oblong building with large arched windows, was probably was the guest house of the Turkish garrison.