Mytilene (Greek: Μυτιλήνη - Mitilíni) is the capital city of Lesbos, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, and capital of Lesbos Prefecture and the Northern Aegean region. It is built on the southeast edge of the island. Mytilene, whose name is pre-Greek, is also the seat of a metropolitan bishop of the Orthodox church.
Mytilene is linked with a highway numbered (GR-67
) linking to Skala Eressou
on the other side of the island of Lesbos. Farmlands surround Mytiline, the mountains cover the west and to the north. The airport
is located a few kilometres south on the small highway. The city was called Midilli during Ottoman times.
of Mytilene is the administrative entity that surrounds the town of Mytilene. It is located in the southeastern part of the island, north and east of the Bay of Gera. It has a land area of and a population of 36,196 inhabitants (2001). With a population density
of 336.8/km² it is by far the most densely populated municipality in Lesbos Prefecture. The next largest towns in the municipality are Vareiá (pop. 1,254), Pámfila (1,247), Mória (1,207), and Loutrá (1,118).
As an ancient city, lying off the east coast, Mytilene was initially confined to an island that later was joined to Lesbos
, creating a north and south harbour. Mytilene contested successfully with Methymna
in the north of the island for the leadership of the island in the seventh century BC and became the centre of the island’s prosperous hinterland. The city was famed for its great output of electrum
coins struck from the late 6th through mid 4th centuries BC.
Aristotle traveled there for two years, 337-335 BC, with his friend, Theophrastus before becoming the tutor to Alexander, son of King Amyntas of Mytilene.
The Romans, among whom was a young Julius Caesar, successfully besieged Mytilene in 80 B.C.
In 56 AD. Paul the Apostle stopped there on the return trip of his third missionary journey().
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There are 16 primary schools in Mytilene, along with seven lyceums
, and eight gymnasiums
. There are six university schools with 3671 undergraduates, the largest in the University of the Aegean
). Here also is the Rector
, the central administration of the Foundation, the Central Library and the Research Committee of Aegean University. The University of Aegean is housed in privately-owned buildings, in rented buildings located in the city centre, and in modern buildings on University Hill.
Mytiline has a port with ferries to the nearby islands of Lemnos
in Turkey. The port also serves the mainland cities of Piraeus
. One ship, named during the 2001 IAAF
games in Edmonton Aeolos Kenteris
, after Kostas Kenteris
, used to serve this city (his hometown) with 6-hour routes from Athens and Thessaloniki. The main port serving Mytiline on the Greek mainland is Piraeus
The city has a hospital, and a few squares (plateies).
The city produces ouzo. There are more than 15 commercial producers on the island.
Ihe city exports sardines harvested from the Bay of Kalloni.
Archaeological investigations at Mytilene began in the late 19th century when Robert Koldewey (later excavator of Babylon) and a group of German colleagues spent many months on the island preparing plans of the visible remains at various ancient sites like Mytilene. Significant excavations, however, do not seem to have started until after the First World War when in the mid 1920s Evangelides uncovered much of the famous theatre on the hill on the western side of town. Subsequent work in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s by various members of the Archaeological Service revealed more of the theatre, including a Roman conversion to a gladiatorial arena. Salvage excavations carried out by the Archaeological Service in many areas of the city have revealed sites going back to the Early Bronze Age although most have been much later (Hellenistic and Roman). It is clear from various remains in different parts of the city that Mytilene was indeed laid out on a grid plan as the Roman architect Vitruvius had written.
Archaeological excavations carried out between 1984-1994 in the medieval castle of Mytilene by the University of British Columbia and directed by Caroline and Hector Williams revealed a previously unknown sanctuary of Demeter and Kore of late classical/Hellenistic date and the burial chapel of the Gattelusi, the medieval Genoese family that ruled the northern Aegean from the mid 14th-mid 15th centuries of our era. Other excavations done jointly with the K' Ephoreia of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities near the North Harbour of the city uncovered a multiperiod site with remains extending from a late Ottoman cemetery (including a "vampire" burial, a middle aged man with 20 cm. spikes through his neck, middle and ankles) to a substantial Roman building constructed around a colonnaded courtyard to remains of Hellenistic structures and debris from different Hellenistic manufacturing processes (pottery, figurines, cloth making and dyeing, bronze and iron working) to archaic and classical levels with rich collections of Aeolic grey wares.
Famous people from Mytilene