The Municipal Unit of Petra
Petra, Petri, Avlaki, Anaxos, Skoutaros, Stipsi, Lafiona, Ipsilometopo
Some 5 km past Molyvos, heading in the direction of Kalloni, is the village of Petra with its incredible sandy beach and its distinctive rock standing almost 40m tall, upon which the beautiful church of Panagia Glykofilousa, stands upon overlooking the Aegean sea. Hence the name of the village “Petra”, which in Greek means stone rock! One hundred and fourteen chiseled steps lead up to the beautiful church, awarding all those who make the ascent, to a most stunning view of the village, the surrounding nature and of the sea, especially at sunset. Legend holds that once upon a time, long, long ago a storm brought a ship’s captain to this shore as he was looking for his icon of the blessed Virgin Mary, which he always had with him, but it had gone missing. He was unable to locate it until one evening when he saw a strange light seemingly suspended between earth and sky above this 40m rock. So, he came to shore and climbed up to the top of the rock, where he miraculously found his icon in front of a lighted lamp. Bewildered, he immediately took the icon back to his ship but once to his dismay, it disappeared once more, only to find it on top of the rock yet again. Thus, he decided to build a small church at this very spot since it was obvious to him that this was the wish of the Blessed Virgin. The original church dates back to 1609 and the present church dates back to 1747. The Blessed Virgin is celebrated, as everywhere in Greece, on August 15. The icon of Panagia is considered miraculous and attracts numerous religious pilgrims every year.
Walking through the “kalderimia” or cobblestone streets, you will come across many remarkable neoclassical buildings form the 19th and 20th century. You might also find yourself walking past Vareltzidena’s House, the restored home of a 19th-century merchant. It’s worth going in for a look around if you’re interested in local history, as the home is decorated with beautiful frescoes depicting significant images of daily life from the past. You will also find the church of St. Nikolaos, another important religious monument of the island with beautiful remnants of frescoes on its walls. In the atmospheric streets around the rock and main square, you can browse little shops selling locally crafted wood, jewellery and art, or enjoy sweet delicacies, traditional foods and drinks.
Above all, Petra is a perfect choice for a laid-back beach holiday, where you can walk barefoot on soft, golden sand and snorkel with colorful fish. It is fully organized with restaurants, taverns, beach bars and offers modern facilities for water sports and beach games. You will find a wide range of accommodation like hotels and apartments that suit all budgets. During summer, you will enjoy a variety of cultural, gastronomical and sporting events.
The village of Petri is located on the mountainside right above Petra, near Stipsi, offering breathtaking views of the basin and sea below. Visitors can enjoy an amazing meal at one of the traditional taverns found there, or spend a day hiking in the region on one of the hiking paths leading to Vafeios, Stipsi and the Ligona Valley watermill region with its 18 medieval watermills and the “Achilleiopigada” rock formation where legend has it, the hero ”Achilles” anchored his ship there on his way to the “Trojan War”.
Skoutaros is a large semi – mountain village, it stands on the green northern slope of Skoteino, from which probably it took its name. Architecture there is traditional with stone-built houses, tiled roofs and narrow cobblestone streets. In the village square is the Church “Kimisi tis Theotokou” (the Dormition of Virgin Mary), a three aisled basilica built in 1880 with a fine carved wooden sanctuary screen. It is said that a monk had been carving this for 10 years. The port of the village is Anaxos, which has a wonderful sandy beach full of restaurants and bars. One of the best beaches on the island with crystal clean water!!The area combines an extraordinary natural beauty and some modern facilities that make this area ideal for family holidays.West of Anaxos is Mikri Tsichranta “Ambelia beach”, an idyllic beach with green valley behind it and a pond with turtles, which is worth seeing. Further to the west is Megali Tsichranta, with the small church of St. Panteleimon. A fair is held on 27th July.
Stipsi is located on the slope of mountain Lepetymnos and is constructed entirely of stone houses and cobbled stone streets. In Stipsi you will meet friendly people and locals sitting outside the traditional “kafeneions” under the shade of grapevines, playing backgammon and enjoying the best handmade “mezes” made with local products and accompanied by ouzo or wine. Stipsi also has a local agricultural cooperative https://e-stypsi.gr/ , founded in 1928, where you can buy locally produced olive oil of the highest quality. A very impressive church there is “Agia Triada” which has a wooden carved sceen detailed with gold. If you happen to be in Stipsi during a wedding celebration, take the opportunity to partake in the experience, as weddings still take place the traditional way here, with live traditional music: an orchestra collects the bride and groom from their homes and accompanies them on their walk to the church, filling the village streets with the sound of joyful traditional tunes.
Lafiona or Lathiona, is situated 5 kilometers away from Petra. This picturesque settlement built on the side of Mount Skotino .Lafiona means the place that deers live. On the other hand “Lathiona” comes from the greek verb “lanthano”. This word means hide or escape attention. Lafiona was built 400 years ago when Venetian and pirates were trying to dominate Lesvos. Lafiona is not easily seen, from far away, which explains the name! A visit to the Folklore Museum of Lafiona is an opportunity to admire traditional objects and tools donated by the locals. Lafiona also stands out because of its Monastery of Saint Alexander, who was the first bishop of Molivos. The monastery was built in 325 AD and is the oldest monastery on the island. It is located 3 kilometers away from the center of the settlement.
Α little past Stipsi, you will come across the beautiful village of Ipsilometopo with its monument-Church of Taxiarchis, built in 1807. You will also find the Christian Basilica of Ipsilometopo, dedicated to St. Dimitrios, with floors covered with mosaics that date back to the second half of the 6th century. You may also find the Spring of Aslanis amongst huge plane trees, well-known for the crystal-clear water pouring out of a lion’s mouth made of stone.
|1. The Church of Panagia Glykofilousa (Sweet-Kissing Virgine Mary) built in 1724 upon the impressive 40 meter high rock-(hence the name “Petra” of the village), with its 114 carved steps and amazing view at the top. Find the icon of Virgin Mary at the back outer wall of the church which looks at you no matter where you are standing!|
|2. The Church of St. Nikolaos built in the 17th century with its special frescoes.|
|3. The architecture of the Vareltzidina Mansion, with its decorated with frescoes walls and ceilings.|
|4. The Cultural Center “Stelios Pavlis”- The former Olive Press Eleftheriades, with its amazing architecture.|
|5. The main square of Petra with innumerous traditional shops, patisseries, tavernas, cafe-bars.|
|6. The organised sandy beach of Petra lined with cafe-bars, tavernas, hotels offering watersports, cocktails, traditional dishes and sweets.|
|7. The “Iroon” Square in front of the Cultural Association of Petra Folklore Collection housed in the former highschool of Petra.|
|8. The three uninhabited islets across from Petra-Avlaki, popular to birdwatchers. St. George (Lagonisi) is the largest of the three and hosts an ecological observatory, followed by Glaronisi (Seagull islet) and Myrmingki (Ant) all classified as protected areas due to their unique flora and fauna.|
|9. Petra is also a traditional settlement, hence the beautiful architecture of many homes such as the Eleftheriades mansion and property.|
|10. The Petra Schengen Gate from where in summer ferry boats run between Lesvos and Turkey, as well as where sailboats and cruiseliners may use.|
|11. The Ouzo Distillery in Petra Kouroumichalis.|
Dont miss the sunset of Petra!
|1. The hiking paths of the surrounding area – leading to Vafeios, Stipsi and the Ligona Valley watermill region with its 18 medieval waterimlls and the “Achilleiopigada” rock formation.|
|2. Local tvernas with breathtaking views over Petra and the Aegean – especially at sunset.|
|1. The village square with its traditional “Kafeneions”.|
|2. The Church “Kimisi tis Theotokou” (the Dormition of Virgin Mary), a three aisled basilica built in 1880 with a fine carved wooden sanctuary screen.|
|3. Ambelia beach.|
|4. Megali Tsichranta Beach with the small church of St. Panteleimon. Don’t miss the local “panigiri” that takes place there every 27th July.|
|5. Beautiful nature trails for hiking lovers .|
|1. A beautiful cove with traditional tavernas.|
|1. Local award-winning honey.|
|2. The beautiful sandy beach of Anaxos lined with cafe-bars, tavernas tourist shops,rental homes,watersports with a view of Molyvos in the distance.|
|1. The early-Christian church of St. Alexandros surrounded by pine and plane trees.|
|2. The hiking paths of the surrounding area – leading to the Klapado waterfall.|
|3. The beautiful streets of Lafiona.|
|4. The church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary built in 1807 with an amazing view overlooking Petra and the Aegean.|
|1. The old Olive Press of Stipsi|
|2. The church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary built in 1805.|
|3. The main square of Stipsi lined with traditional shops, “Kafeneions” and cafes.|
|4. The local agricultural cooperative of Stipsi and its olive oil production.|
|5. Locally produced soaps.|
|1. The “Early-Christian” Basilique of St. Dimitrios.|
|2. The amazing Aslanis fountain in Ipsilometopo.|
|3. The monument – Church of Taxiarchis built in 1807.|
|4. The local “Kafeneions”.|
|5. The Festival of St. Marina in July.|
|6. The geological rock formations between Ipsilometopo and Pelopi.|
Enjoy Hiking,Biking,Watersports,Scuba-Diving, Bota Trips, Birdwatching in the ecological observatory on the islet of St. George across from Petra and in the Kavaki region between Petra and Molyvos.