On Lesvos you will discover local artists that create beautiful handmade works of art perfect for souvenirs and gifts, from handmade jewellery, traditional baskets, ceramics,woodcarvings, rugs, religious icons and paintings. Each work represents the folklore culture, traditions and practices passed down from generation to generation.
The pottery tradition of Lesvos goes back 5,000 years as is evident by relevant finds in the prehistoric settlement of
Loutropolis Thermis. Later, during the archaic and classical periods, the amphorae of Lesvos were used to transfer the local
oil and wine everywhere in the Aegean region. During the Hellenistic period the containers have relief decoration and a
characteristic green-shaded glazing.
During the Byzantine and post-Byzantine periods, the glazed pitchers and jugs are great
utility objects, features of which we find in the modern production in Agiasos and Mantamados.
In the early 20th century
and with the shifting and repatriation of populations from Asia Minor, a new pottery nucleus is created in Lesvos with
excellent yield. Artisans in various parts of the island establish workshops according to the needs and the clay they could find
nearby. From about 1950 onward the pace and way of life changes, mainly due to the inexpensive glass objects and the use
of plastic as a new utility material. But pottery as pure art does not capitulate. The warmth and ‘imperfection’ of handmade
objects continue to enchant. The skilful hands of the artisans continue the tradition using new strong colours and shinny
glazing to decorate their work.
The tradition of Lesvos in textiles was special. Indeed, the technique, a mixture of the
local tradition with elements the refugees from Asia Minor brought with them, was so varied and advanced that at some
point, besides the handicraft, an industrial production developed as well, with most characteristic the example of
the big manufacturer at Parakoila. To this day there are still workshops of traditional textile-making on the loom, which
though they focus on items of folk art intended for tourists, they keep several elements of authentic tradition, away from the
standard ‘made in China’ products found in tourist spots.
One of the main examples of folk art is wood carving. Everything attests that most of the existing items of carved furniture
that have been manufactured in Lesvos come chiefly from Agiasos. It is only natural for a type of art to develop in places
where there is an abundance of raw material (walnut and chestnut trees) as well as good craftsmen. It is a known fact that
when the elders in the whole of Lesvos talk about the old carved-wood chests, they refer to them as the Agiasos chests’. The
main pieces of furniture in a household of Agiasos were the chests and the mirrors. At times these were flat without carving
and at other times they were carved. They are the main source of evidence for the study of wood carving in Agiasos. The
scenes and designs carved only at the front were the most important.
The welcometolesvos.com site is the official tourism website of the Public Entity of Culture, Tourism & Sports of the Municipality of Western Lesvos and aims to provide valuable information regarding the historical, cultural and tourist attractions of Lesvos island, its natural environment, activities, events and much more!