This corner of the North Sea, harbours rare and stunning visuals of natural beauty.
The morphology of the island alone is unique. Almost the entire of Lemnos is made up of low, cultured, rolling hills. The landscape is characterized by the absence of forests and large trees, and features important wetlands with clusters of lakes, making this an excellent example of a wilderness that has experienced minimal human impact. Completing the harmony of contrasts, are hills of fine sand and brushwood, bringing the charm of the desert to the middle of the Aegean Sea. The position of Lemnos and its many low hills, offer visitors incredible views of the Aegean Sea, even when located in the hinterland of the island. Thassos, Samothrace, Imbros, Tenedos, Asia Minor coast, Agios Efstratios and the faint lines delineating the tops of Athos and Paggeo mountains, create images of unparalleled beauty that make Lemnos a special kind of observatory.
Lemnos’ natural environment, provides a unique sensory experience.
In antiquity, according to legend, the Spring of Terra Lemnia was mined at the point which Hephaestus had fallen in Lemnos, after fighting with Zeus. Using Lemnia Terra, Hephaestus healed his injuries. Legend has it that the point where Hephaestus fell is located between the villages Repanidi, Kotsinas and Varos in “Despotis” (Bishop’s) Hill; a place called Mosychlos in antiquity. It is this view that you enjoy from the hotel’s Veranda restaurant!
Today there is a small whitewashed chapel of Christ the Saviour. Herodotus’ ancient writings mention Lemnian earth or Terra Lemnia; many scholars and physicians of antiquity studied, used it and wrote about it. They believed it had haemostatic effect, could cure dysentery, relieve stomach ulcers and neutralize snake venom. The mining ceremony for the Terra Lemnia was consecrated by a priestess from Hefaisteia. The earth was then transported to the city, where it was treated, packed in small circular tablets, like modern pills, and bore the seal of goddess Artemis’ form or her protected animal, the goat.
The extraction and use of Terra Lemnia continued during the Byzantine period and its reputation spread throughout the Arab world. During the Renaissance Terra Lemnia became known in Europe, and travelers who visited or wrote about Lemnos have refered to it. In the West it was known as terra lemnia or terra sigillata (sealed earth).
In Christian times, the Lemnia Terra ceremony was combined with the celebration of Christ the Saviour and was celebrated on August 6th. They called it “Agiochoma” (which means holy soil) while the seal on the tablets featured the figure of Christ. Later on, during the Turkish occupation, the tablets were sealed with the crescent form. A small amount of extracted clay was given to local potters to manufacture bowls and vases. Mining was last reported in August 1916.
Today, unfortunately the mine cannot be seen and is not in use, but its history remains fascinating. Terra Lemnia is ‘the first product in the world’, characterized as “Protected Designation of Origin” and certainly the first standardized pharmaceutical in history of medicine.
Aliki, located about 2 km northwards, occupies a vast area where as your eyes can get lost in the powdery, white landscape. You can visit it if when travelling from Kontopouli to Madonna on the main road, you turn right on dirt road about 3.4 km from the exit of the village of Kontopouli. If you’re lucky, during the summer months, you can equip yourself properly and collect natural salt for winter recipes which is a unique experience!!! The salt lakes are a protected wetland, and in the autumn months rare birds can be found here, offering a unique spectacle.
To the north of the island, on the hillsides of the village of Katalakkos, is a rare site. The Sand Dunes, or as locals called the area “Thick Amdes” are rolling hills of fine sand dunes and a few scattered bushes here and there, carrying the charm of the desert to the northern Aegean. The dunes are spread over an area of about 70 acres in the Gomati region and create a stunning landscape, unique to Greece. Impress friends by being photographed against a backdrop of wild olive or the “Sahara” background of Lemnos!
VOLCANIC CRATER MOSYCHLOS
At first glance you wouldn’t guess there is a volcanic crater here, as the only thing you can see are farmers crops taking advantage of the fertile volcanic soils. From the hotel’s Veranda Restaurant, you can gaze at the view of the primordial volcano, whose energy and power still hangs in the air, mixed with Lemnian thyme and the sea breeze.
Myth has it that this is the place where Hephaestus healed his injuries after Zeus threw him down from Mount Olympus. The European travelers arriving in Lemnos in the Middle Ages often mentioned the hot springs of the island. During the Ottoman Empire, the Turks built a bath and inn here to accommodate visitors. Today, the Thermal Spas of Lemnos feature modern facilities and are a oasis in green surroundings and are just 12km from Varos.
Besides spa, visitors to the spring can also enjoy mud therapy with the famous “Lemnia earth”, as well as therapeutic, relaxing massages and beauty treatments. For more info, ask the Reception Desk to help you book a visit.
It has been relayed from one generation to the next, that that once upon a very long time ago, (some 20 – 25,000,000 years), Lemnos experienced violent volcanic activity. As a result of this, hurling volcanic lava, pyroclastic materials and volcanic ash covered the lush subtropical vegetation of the island, thus creating the Petrified Forest of Lemnos!
The highest proportion of plant remains and trees can be found in the areas of Romanos, Varos, Kotsinas and Portianou, Kontias and Thanos. Investigations by the University of Athens have awarded the island’s Petrified Forest the status of having great scientific value.
Varos Village has it’s own petrified tree trunk at the western entrance of the village, by way of a short stone path that leads to this extraordinary geological artefact.
ROCKS IN FARAKLO
These beautiful rocks that can be found on Lemnos’ north coast, are a natural phenomenon that showcase the geological history of our island. They are known locally as ‘Cape Faraklo’.
The rocks were formed millions of years ago, when hot volcanic lava poured forth from the bowels of the earth and solidified as it came into contact with sea water. These impressive natural sculptures are referred to by the locals as “fragkokefala”. The sight of frozen lava of dozens of yellowish shades and its peculiar globular geological formations found next to the picturesque sea coves, are well worth a visit.
This waterfall is sited near the beach of St. John, to the west of the island. The torrent of the Kaspakas waterfall, known as “stream of Katsaitis” creates an impressive view with rushing water falling from a height of about 15 meters. The area is called “Hanging Waters’ and in times gone by there was a stone watermill built here to harness the power of water. The falling water here has shaped the area, creating several plateaus, with small ponds which are home to frogs, crabs, turtles and eels. The best time to visit is the spring, when the water is still abundant. To reach the waterfall, follow the path that starts on the south side of the beach, and after walking for a few yards, you are there.