Leros

Leros attractions and sightseeing

LerosLeros is an island with an amazing landscape. Although its surface is only approximately 55 square kilometres, Leros gives the visitor a variety of different places to explore and visit, consequently, the island is an ideal place for hiking. With a good network of roads and lanes it is perfect for exploring the island by motor scooter of car. 
Leros is a quiet island , full of the real atmosphere of Greece of the past. It is ideal for a relaxing holiday in contact with nature and traditions.
The three villages Agia Marina, Platanos and Panteli actually form a single town with a very varied architecture. Aghia Marina is the second port of the island and has an archaeological museum.
The Water Mill of Agia Marina, located practically in the sea. Platanos is located at the foot of the large castle and owes its name to a large plane tree in the center of the main square.

The most popular places and beaches to visit are Partheni and Blefouti in the north, Gourna, Kokali and Ayia Isidoros on the west side of the island and the big bay of Alinda in the central east part of the island, with the beaches of Panagies and Dio Lisgaria.

leros island
Leros

The castle of Panagia and the windmills

castleImposing and panoramic castle which is located on the top of a hill and can be reached from Platanos also on foot with a long staircase.
Along the climb, the beautiful windmills, very panoramic, which stand out on a ridge deserve a stop.

The castle was built over the ancient acropolis and was inhabited until 1700. It was a refuge for the population (who lived just outside the walls) when pirates came from the sea. Inside there is an ecclesiastical museum and a monastery with beautiful frescoes and a legendary and miraculous icon of the Madonna.

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Belenis tower and museum

It is located inside the beautiful Belenis castle, near Alinda, and is an interesting historical-folkloric museum.

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The War Museum in Merkies

Interesting and evocative museum located in some galleries built by the Italian army just outside Lakki, to the west.

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Lakki

lakkiCompletely built by the Italians when its port became a military naval base, it has many constructions that recall the architecture of the fascist period: square, simple and functional.

There is no shortage of military structures that later housed the sadly famous psychiatric hospital of the island.

Everything must be observed as a corner of history that is still well preserved.

Panaghia Κavouradena

Close to the settlement of Xirokampos, there lies the picturesque church of Panaghia Kavouradena (literally, The Virgin of the Crabs), righteously considered as one of the most beautiful construction of its kind in Leros. 
The church was actually built on the rocks of the coast, on a location where – tradition has it – a fisherman looking for crabs accidentally came across the icon of Holy Mary, hidden in a fissure of the rock. Hard to get to at first sight, the church may actually be accessed through the many steps carved in and amongst the rocks.

kavouradena

Monasteries and Churches

christos-churchThe churches of Christos and Stavros (The Holy Cross) in the Platanos area are quite old and very interesting.

Not to miss: the church of Aghia Pasaskevi, once the island’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

In Lakki, look for the church of Saint John the Evangelist (Aghios Ioannis Theologos), one of the most interesting of its kind in the whole Dodecanese, featuring some excellent 11th century A.C. mosaics.

Agia-KiouraWithin the wider area of Partheni, there lies the church of Aghios Georghios (St. George), built in the 10th century A.C. with ancient material – possibly remnants of the ancient temple of Diana.

On the seafront, northwards, there lies the church of Aghia Kioura or Matrona, definitely worth visiting for a closer look at the beautiful frescoes, created by political convicts in exile during the dictatorship years (1967 – 1974) but also at the older icons kept in the church. 

Agios Isidoros

agios isidorosPicturesque church built on a rocky island connected to Leros by a cemented path that is almost submerged at high tide.
From the islet you can see what remains of an ancient temple at the bottom of the sea. Good place to watch the sunsetOn the way to Leros Airport , turn left, within short distance, one comes across the miniscule church of Agios Isidoros, built on a rock protruding out of the sea.

Access to that church is obtained through a narrow concrete-made, 50-meter long pathway.On the seabed, right next to the rock featuring this church, one can see the vestiges of an ancient shrine.

More to the south, right along the seafront road going past Gourna, one comes across the small church of Panaghia Gourlomata (literally,
the Virgin with the Bulging Eyes), featuring some remarkable frescoes and built here, near Drymonas, in the 14th century A.C, of materials taken from the ruins of an ancient construction nearby.

panagia-gourlomata

Ancient monuments and sites of archeological interest

broutziThe Brouzi fortress, construction of roman inspiration built on the ruins of an ancient town that once raised right at the mouth of the port of Aghia Marina.

Lakki. The Monument on the seafront is there to commemorate the sinking of Greek Navy destroyer “Queen Olga” as of a blitz of the Nazi air force on the 26th of September 1943.

Partheni. The vestiges of what is believed was the ancient temple of Diana (Artemis) on a promontory raising to the west, near the airport – a shrine often quoted both in literature and in inscriptions. There have been no systematic excavations so far although several Hellenist era stele have to this day been unearthed.

Fortresses

LerosSituated in a predominant location eastwards from the town, on the barren hilltop of Apityki, at a 300 meter altitude , there lies the Fort of Leros, also known as the Fort of Virgin Mary. The fort was built sometime during the Byzantine era, on the remains of an ancient Leros fortification. Excavations in this site unearthed an ancient tomb, dating back in the 7th century B.C. 

The fortress upon the hill was meant to protect the population that took refuge within its walls in times of pirate raids and pillage. In times of peace, the inhabitants dwelled in houses scattered around the fort – the vestiges of some 180 such houses still visible.

Within the walls of the fortress, one comes across the Monastery of Panagia Kyra (our Lady of the Fortress), ornamented with numerous Byzantine frescoes, also featuring an interesting collection of archaeological and Byzantine – ecclesiastical objects – icons, manuscripts, baptistery basin and a mortuary shroud for the Holy Week services. There seems to be no end to the local lore and beliefs about the miraculous powers of the icon of the Virgin.