Other Islands of the Dodecanese.


Leros Hotels

Map of Leros.
Map of Leros.

Mythology and History -

Leros was first inhabited in very early times, and these early islanders seem to have been experts hunters and chicken-breeders. There was a temple to Artemis, goddess of hunting.

Traditions, paleontological finds and the geographical proximity of Leros to other islands make it likely that the first inhabitants were Pelasgians, Leleges and Carians.

The Dorians - descendants of Herakles - colonised Leros but were driven out by Ionians from Melitos. In the Trojan War, Leros contributed ships to the fleet of thirty vessels formed by Kalymnos, Kos, Kasos and Karpathos. (Homer, Iliad II, 676)

During the Persian Wars, Leros was occupied by the Persians and gained its freedom after their defeat at Salamis.

In the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC), Leros was unter Spartan control, and continued to be so after the war had ended.

In the time of Alexander The Great, the island's fate was the same as that of its neighbours, and after Alexander's death it passed into the hands of his successors.

In the first century BC, Leros fell to the Romans. It joined the Byzantine Empire in the time of Constantine The Great, belonging first to the theme of Samos and later to that of the Dodecanese.

It was frequently raided and sacked by the Persians, the Saracens and the Crusaders.

In 1306, Leros and other islands in the Dodecanese were sold to the Knights of St. John by Vinioli, Byzantine admiral and commander of the islands.

After repeated raids and attacks, the Ottomans Finelly succeeded in capturing Leros in 1522-1523.

In 1912, the island was taken over by Italy, which made it an important naval base. As a result, it was frequently bombed during the Second World War, and much destruction was done.

At the end of the Second World War, Leros was liberated by the Allies, and on 7 March 1948 it was united with the rest of Greece.


The Island Leros:

Leros has an area of 53,10 km² and a coastline of 71 km. It is 185 nautical miles from Piraeus and 98 from Rhodes.
It is an island of great natural beauty with attractive, peaceful bays which are more like lagoons than the open sea.
Leros now, has a population of 8.061 people.

One of the best natural harbours in the Aegean and the island's principal port.
Lakki was used during the Italian occupation as the main naval station in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The modern town, which stands in corner of the sheltered bay, is well supplied with trees and vegetation. It has a customs house, the port authority building and a hospital. The seafront is dominated by buildings put up during the Italian occupation. Near the centre of the town is the handsome Church of St. John, standing on the ruins of a basilica of the 11th century.

This little village and harbour is south of Lakki. Caïques leave here daily for Kalymnos (Myrties).
The island's only organised camp site is at Xirocambos, and its owner, who is a professional diver, gives diving lessons. It has a sandy beach.
Also of note at Xirokambos is the Church of Our Lady Kavouradena. On the hill in the middle of the village is Palaiokastro, at a height of 70 metres, where there are remains of an ancient Mycenaean acropolis, on which a Christian church was later built.

This quiet shingle beach is to the north, about 800 metres before Platanos.

A small fishing village - reached by the road to the right a little before Platanos - with a sandy and pebble beach and excelent tavernas.

The geographical centre and the capital of the island, 3 km north of LAKKI. the townhall, the bank, the post office and the telephone office OTE, are all here. From the town's little square, in the traditional style, a road starts out northwards to the port of Agia Marina, while to the south is the picturesque Panteli. Both places can be easily reached by a pleasant walk. On the eastern side of this old-style village, large neo-classical houses climb up the side of the hill, which is dominated by the impressive castle. This can be reached by following the surfaced road (2 km) from the village or by going by the old road and climbing its 370 steps.

The castle, which was inhabited in Byzantine times, stands on top of ancient remains. Excavations have brought to light a tomb of the 7th century BC inside another of an earlier date. There are also scattered sea-shells, used by the inhabitants in the classical period and later.
The castle was repaired and added to in the time when it was held by the Knights of Rhodes by its various governors.
In the Second World War it was a lookout post fortified by the Italians and Germans. It was badly damaged and has subsequently been repaired by the Archaeological Service, with the financial support of many Lerians.
Inside the castle is the Monastery of Our Lady Megalochari, Lady of the Castle, which has fine wall-paintings and a miracle-working icon, which according to tradition, came to the island of its own accord in a boat!

Agia Marina:
Port of Platanos. A small port,pleasant with an authenticity of its own. At Prouzi, walls and other remains which show that this was the site of the ancient city have been found.

3 km to the north-west od Agia Marina. On the coast there is a well cared-for war cemetery.

The island's largest tourist resort, approximately 3km from Platanos. There is a large sand and pebble beach, with trees providing shade, and various tavernas, shops and forms of accommodation. The view towards Agia Marina and Platanos is very fine. At Alynta is the Tower of Belenis.

Bay on the west coast of the island with two fine beaches.

Agios Isidoros:
An islet with a chapel, linked to the shore by a narrow raised causeway.

North of the airport and 8,5 km from Platanos. A place of great charm with hills, olive orchards, bee-hives and two attractive bays. Caïques leave from here for Lipsi.

Temple of Artemis:
Before the airport, on the left, a path leads, in 300 metres, to a spot where there are some remains of the ancient temple. Excavations have not yet been rarried out here.

Sand and pebble beach.

Text from Davaris Publications. - Greek Islands: DODECANESE.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Nostalgia Travel ™ / Other Islands / Leros.