Built four kilometres above the sea front among arid volcanic masses, the town of Eresos preserves its genuine and traditional colours Its splendid manour houses adorn the village, proclaiming its economic and cultural prosperity. Even the less imposing houses will impress the visitor with their elegance and harmonious blend of building materials. When looking at these stone houses, visitors will discover how well the red of the roof tiles, the green, crimson, brown, or blue of the windows and doors, the ochre, indigo and white of lime on the white-washed walls and the yards blooming with flowers blend.
The spacious village square with its giant plane tree, is the best place to cool off and rest for a while. Quench your thirst with a lemonade at one of the many coffee houses or try the home-made stuffed vine leaves and local grills in one of the restaurants.
he square is lined with public buildings - the Town Hall, the Post-office, the Police station - while, three churches, Panagia (Virgin Mary), Agios Constantinos and Agia Irene with its wooden temple - a fine example of craftsmanship, are located midtown.
The ‘Theophrasteion’ School is one of the most interesting and beautiful Educational Institutions of Lesbos, featuring many characteristics of the neoclassical style of architecture. It was built by the Architect Athanasios Demyris, with the initiative of the American diaspora - in 1928 (1925 - 1928). Its library collection consists of 2070 volumes. Today, the building houses Eresos kindergarden, Primary School and High School.
Peace and serenity are the keyword when describing the atmosphere in Eresos during the summer. Skala Eresos is quite the contrary as it is always throbbing with life. In fact, most of the local population and municipal authorities relocate to Skala Eresos during the summer months in order to cater for the needs of the tourist industry. Others move to the low-lying area in order to work on farms in the plain. This habit of relocating during the summer has its roots in the bygone days when it was customary to do so in many villages of Lesbos.
From May till October the Eresos village is virtually “depopulated” as its inhabitants move to the Eressian plain for the purpose of the “snoparto”, derived from the verb “sinopairno” (to gather or collect”).
Eresos guests soon discover that is a place with a rich cultural heritage and traditions.
Acropolis of ancient Eresos (Vigla Hill) is where a section of the pre-hellenistic polygonal wall lies and on the hilltop there are ruins of Genoese and Turkish turrets and ruins of a medieval castle and a small cistern dating from the Roman Times.
The Church of Agios (Saint) Andreas
The ruins of a Paleochristian church lie in the area directly behind the contemporary beautiful church of Saint Andrea of Skala Eresos.
According to archaeological findings this paleochristian church was a three-aisled Basilica dating from the first half of the 5th century.
The mosaic floor decor of the central aisle is a superb work of art. The geometric figures, representations from the plant and animal world inspire awe and admiration.
On the same premises stands a building which houses a sarcophagus with the relics of Saint Andreas, the patron saint of Eresos (+740a.C).
Paleochristian basilica of Afentelli
Approximately two kilometres away, to the west of the estuary of river Chalandra at the “Afentelli” site, lie the ruins of the second Christian monument, a temple of the same style as that of St Andreas. It is three-aisled church which was built during the mid - 5th century. It is believed that this is where the School of the doctor, philosopher and botanist Theophrastus existed. The mosaics that were found on the site include remarkable representations of peacocks which are in very good condition. The bases of the pillars and the capitals are of the Ionian style, while the famous “egkainio”, an item of particular interest is kept at the archaeological museum. The “egkainio” is a small marble sarcophagus which contained the relics and unction of the Saint.
The Museum of Eresos
The Museum of Eresos is located behind the church of Agios Andreas. The collection contains dark and red-figured lekythuses dating from the 5th and 6th century, chrismals from 6th century b.C., ancient coins, relief tombstones, corbels of the basilicas of St Andrea and Afentelli, inscriptions in the Aeolian vernacular refering to the decrees of the polis etc. The museum collection also includes the anchor of the turkish frigate "Moving Mountain", which D. Papanikolis set fire to in the bay of Eresos, on 27th May in 1821.
The Monastery of Pithari (Moni Pithariou)
Founded during the 17th century, this monastery is consecrated to the archangels. This beautiful monastery, built in a ravine of oaks and planes, is at 30 minutes’ distance from Eresos.
Moni Ipsilou (Monastery of Ipsilos)
The Monastery of Ipsilou is 12km from Eresos. This imposing building stands on the highest peak of the Ordymnos range, 551m above sea level. Its door is shut from sunset until sunrise.
The monastery was founded before 800 a.C. by Saint Theophanis of Sygriani and is the most ancient monastery of Lesbos (built in 1101). The patriarchal bill of 1331 proves that it is a byzantine monastery. In 1462 the monastery was ransacked by the Turks. The monastery was raided in 1821 and 1851 by the Turks who seized the greatest part of its valuable heirloom. In 1967 it was devastated by fire and most of the western and eastern wing and church were destroyed. Its restoration work was financed by the Archaeological Service with the attention of the Metropolite of Mytilene, in 1971.
The catholic of the monastery is dedicated to Saint John the Theologian who is commemorated on the 8th May.
There are six large icons of the byzantine style on the temple, which portray the image of Christ, Virgin Mary and Saint John the Theologian. The monastery keeps stoles embroidered in gold, Gospel wrappers, magnificent altar clothes from 1588, 1622, 1730 και 1825 decorated with religious representations, six shrines containing the relics of Saints, gold plated Gospels and a multitude of sacred vessels belonging to different periods, crosses inlaid with rubies and pearls, gold plated vessels with artistic representations etc. The collection also contains a large number of documents, manuscripts and codes that are of special interest to researchers studying history and ecclesiastical life.
The Petrified Forest
Petrified plant fossils can be found in the territory on the West side of Lesbos island, in the Municipality of Eresos and the Communes of Antissa and Sygri, over an area of roughly 1.500 hectares. This area, the Petrified forest, is know both in Greece and world-wide.
In recognision of the rare paleontoligical and geomorphological value of this unique natural creation, the state put a special decree on the area, Presidential Decree 443/1985 (Official Journal of the Hellenic Republic 160 issue Α'/19-9-85) in order to define the legal status of the Petrified Forest and safeguard its preservation and rational management.
According to the above mentioned decree, five areas, both land and sea areas, are declared “Protected Monuments of Nature”. This area of 1.500 hectares contains both groups of fossils as well as individual petrified trunks.