The east shore of the gulf of Kalloní
North of the tranquil harbour of Skala Polichnitou extends an area of salt marshes, frequented by a variety of migrating birds and breeding waders. Greater flamingo, ibis, Purple and Squacco herons, Black and White storks, Stone curlews, avocet and spoonbill are often present. The dunes and marshes behind provide an impressive and colourful display of wild flowers—in the spring, sea lavenders and the spiny, brilliant mauve Eryngium creticum (a plant used medicinally as an antidote to snake-bites); in summer, the late flowering sea-daffodil.
The edge of the gulf is largely flat as it continues east, until the knolls and headlands around Pyrrha begin to rise beside the water. The shoreline has altered with time, and the steep acropolis hill of Ancient Pyrrha would probably once have been attached by only a narrow isthmus. The hill itself provided natural defences, especially on the sharper north face. Little now remains to be seen of the acropolis of the city; there are exiguous stretches of ancient walling at the crown of the hill, and at the highest point (or southeastern extremity), the carving of a small crepidoma and steps out of the living rock can be seen; less easy to discern without suitable light conditions are the ruins of habitations and of the harbour below the water level by the shore to the west.
Historical and topographical knowledge of Pyrrha is tenuous. There appears to have been a prehistoric settlement; the earliest burials found, however, are Proto-Geometric. In 428 bc the city’s fortifications were reinforced by Mytilene; it was a member of the Second Athenian Confederacy; and was later wrested from Persian rule by Alexander the Great. Pliny mentions that the original city was ‘drowned by the sea’—probably destroyed by an earthquake around 230 bc. It must have been rebuilt on the new site soon after because it was again an active and flourishing centre in Roman and Early Christian times.
Lesvos Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island Group, Greece.
The east shore of the gulf of Kalloni.