LEROS



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Leros - Lakki and the south and west of the island - Lakki to Drymonas

Lakki to Drymonas
(Northwest, 5km)
Less that 500m north from the shore, the land begins to rise: here, amongst gardens and orchards, can be found the older neoclassical houses that predate the Italian occupation. On the road that leads to Gourna Bay and the airport, after less than 1km and on a curve in the road opposite a splendid four-square balconied mansion, is the fine church of Aghios Ioannis Theologos to the right, reputedly built as the result of a visit to Leros by Hosios Christodoulos, the founder of the monastery of the same dedication on Patmos. The design of the church is unusual and striking even from outside, from where it is clear how the central domed space is flanked by two transverse vaulted units to west and east—the latter with an apse which is decorated on the exterior with patterned brick work. (There are similar patterns, high up on the south wall.) This is the original core of the church: it is clear where there has been the addition of later side aisles to north and south. The presence of Early Christian fragments, lying outside as well as incorporated into the construction of the cupola drum, indicates that there was probably a much earlier predecessor on this site. In the interior (currently under restoration and stripped of its plaster), it can be seen how the basic 11th century church was modified by the Knights of Rhodes in the 14th century, to accommodate a Latin liturgy and a different architectural taste, by the addition of the side aisles which help define a western-style nave. The Knights also put in groin-vaults and narrowed the longitudinal focus by introducing a pointed arch in a new wall which filled the space between the original 11th century piers (SW and NW) supporting the cupola. Patches of 13th century painting on the walls of the original structure survive in places—one, of notable artistic distinction, shows St Mary of Egypt receiving Communion. The church is a good example of how a Byzantine (Orthodox) structure was adapted for a different kind of cult, during the brief period of the rule of Western (Latin) overlords.
   The fertile area around Aghios Ioannis Theologos, and up across the saddle towards Gourna, is marked by many fine and prosperous houses of the 19th century, with well cared-for gardens. Just before the road reaches the bay of Gourna, is the tiny church of the Panaghia Gourlamata, hidden from sight amongst olive trees in a fold in the hill. (The church is difficult to locate and is best reached from the opposite direction: i.e. climbing back out of Gourna Bay and Drymonas towards Lakki­, c. 60m after the first sharp bend, a scarcely visible sign points right (west) to the church, through a gap between some houses.) The simple stone structure of the early 14th century, with the remains of a narthex or subsidiary structure to its west, still preserves some original wall-paintings—clearest of all being a compelling Dei«sis (Christ, his Mother and the Baptist) with a running inscription below, carrying the barely legible date, 1324. Below, at the shore of Gourna Bay, the road continues north past the ‘Caserma Regina’—another relict of Italian occupation, once military quarters, now holiday apartments—towards Kokali; the sharp left turn leads into Drymonas village. At the western extremity of the road along the waterfront is the tiny 14th century church of Aghios Giorgios (with traces of wall-paintings) built into the rocks by the water.


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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