LEROS



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Leros - Aghia Marina and the north of the island - Platanos

Platanos
The steps down from the castle lead into the heart of Platanos, the island’s capital which is given elegance by its many stately neoclassical houses, often finished in unusual and attractive colours. From the town’s roof-scape stand out the narrow high-shouldered churches perched on the steep slopes. The finest houses and gardens are in the area of Od. Asklepi­ou which climbs the slope opposite that of the castle: some of these were the island residences built by the rich businessmen of Leros who had emigrated to work in the Greek communities of Cairo and Alexandria after the island reverted to Ottoman rule in 1830 after a brief flirt with independence. To the right, at the beginning of the street is the church of the Stavros, with a fine row of columns in Rhodian marble surmounted by Byzantine capitals in its south porch. The street is named ‘Asklepi­ou’ because it is believed that the spring towards which it leads on the northeast slopes of Mount Meravigli behind, and known as ‘Palaiaskloupi’—itself a corruption of ‘Palaion Asklepieion’—was the site of an ancient Sanctuary of Asklepios. A small statue of Hygieia, daughter of Asklepios, in the Archaeological Museum was found in this area. The ruins of a large aqueduct carrying water from this spring into the town of Platanos were demolished in 1887.
   The road down from Platanos to Aghia Marina passes the Archaeological Museum (open daily 8.30–3, except Mon) newly accommodated in a former School Building of 1882, originally built by the emigre Leriot community in Egypt. The collection is small, but its explanatory material is particularly clear and helpful in understanding the wider context of the pieces exhibited.
  
In the courtyard outside, to the left of the entrance, is the mosaic floor of the Early Christian Basilica at Partheni. The single exhibition space of the interior is subdivided chronologically, beginning with one of the museum’s strengths— the presentation of prehistoric Leros. The quantity of obsidian found near Drymonas in Gourna Bay and exhibited here is not only evidence of Neolithic workshops on the island but also of a marine trading communication between Leros and Giali­, near Nisyros, and the much more distant island of Milos. A curiosity also from this period is the ‘cheese pot’ type of Late Neolithic vase—low, foot-less, and with a row of perforations around the rim—used for cooking or cheese-making. One of the museum’s other strengths is its collection of Hellenistic artefacts: fragments of the base of a bowl with feet in the form of applied shells; votive terracotta masks with singularly beautiful detail; and, from the year 107 bc, a long, clearly inscribed stele, found in 1886, setting out the honours to be accorded to an alien resident, Aristomachos, for his public services especially in maritime affairs; it was to ‘be recorded in stone at the Deme’s expense’. A votive inscription of a different kind is preserved amongst a group of Byzantine floor mosaics in the collection, which reads, ‘Lord, Remember your servant, Eutychias’. There are also fine examples of transparent blue and green Byzantine glass.


Leros Island is part of the Dodecanese Island Group, Greece.


access

Leros Island, Greece.

By air: Leros has a small airport at the north end of the island (12km from Lakkí), to which Olympic Air operates a daily (morning) summer service. There is also a flight three times weekly to Astypalaia, Kos and Rhodes.
By boat: Two main ports are used on the island: the daily services by catamaran (Dodecanese Express), and four times weekly by car ferry (F/B Nisos Kalymnos) that ply the route between (Rhodes, Kos) Kalymnos and Patmos (Samos) call at Lakki; from the same port there are late-night ferries to and from Piraeus, four times weekly.
The faster Flying Dolphins on the routes linking the Dodecanese Islands, use the port of Aghia Marina on the east coast of the island: these run daily in summer only. There are also local services to Lipsi and Pat mos from Aghia Marina, and from Xerókambos to Myrtiés on Kalymnos. The latter is worth taking simply for the beauty of the scenery along the way.

Leros Travel Guide

eating

Leros Island, Greece.

Some of Leros"s best eating places are mezé tavernas, serving a wide variety of small dishes to be taken together with an ouzo or wine.
The mezedepoleion "Dimitris" has the most imaginative selection: it is signposted from a bend on the main Lakkí Aghia Marina road above the north end of Vromólithos Bay, and is hidden away beside the steps that lead down from the road. It has a terrace with a pleasant view.
To Koulouki, beside the shore at Koulouki Bay, just to the southwest of Lakkí, similarly serves hot and cold mezé on a peaceful terrace. For a shore-side setting of great beauty and for good quality fish,
To Kima, on the eastern side of Xerókambos Bay is a reliable taverna.
Locals, especially on Sundays, like to eat in the bay of Pandéli (south of the castle). There are three fish restaurants here; of these, Patímenos, is the most original and thoughtful in the presentation of its dishes, as well as the least expensive. But the liveliest experience and best value is represented by the small café, which produces a remarkable variety of mezés—situated in the tiny "square" just in from the shore at Pandéli, where the one-way system turns sharply back up to Platanos and Aghia Marina.

Leros Travel Guide

lodging

Leros Island, Greece.

One of the dozen nicest places to stay in all the Greek islands is on Leros, and is to be recommended above all else: the *Hotel Archontiko Angelou (T. 22470 22749 or mobile 6944 908182, www. hotel-angelou-leros.com) in Alínda is a fine 19th century neoclassical mansion set in its own gardens a little way back from the shore. The rooms are comfortable and beautifully appointed without being over-decorated, the breakfast is excellent, and the setting in every way a delight. Price is moderate: a rental car is advisable.
At the southern end of the island, in Xerókambos, the studio-rooms at Villa Maria (T. 22470 27827) are very simple indeed, but are given life by the burgeoning flowers all around: the lodgings are peaceful, inexpensive and pleasant.

Leros Travel Guide

practical info

Leros Island, Greece.

85 400 Leros: area 54sq km
perimeter 82km
resident population 8087
max. altitude 326m.
Port Authorities: Lakkí, T. 22470 22224
Aghia Marina, T. 22470 23256.
Travel and information: Lakki, Aegean Travel, T. 22470 26000, www.aegeantravel.gr
Aghia Marina, Kastis Travel, T. 22470 22140, www. kastis.eu

Leros Travel Guide

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