Before leaving the town of Eresos on the road for Antissa, a signed track (‘Μονή Πυθαρίου’) leading to the Pithari Monastery (4.2km. Open summer 9–7, or until sunset out of season) turns off to the right and climbs through a landscape at first cultivated and then rocky. About half way to the monastery the view opens out over the verdant kambos of Eresos, stretching as far as the sea. The enduring productivity of this area has been vouchsafed by the construction of a dam (2002) and the creation of an artificial lake designed to husband the supply of water to the area. The monastery sits just above its opposite shore, in a dense break of trees at the foot of a dramatic scarp of rock. Dedicated to the ‘Pan-megistes Taxiarches’ (the ‘All-powerful Archangels’), the monastery first appears in written records in the mid-16th century, although it has clearly been enlarged, rebuilt and modified in several stages since then—its present rather severe and fortified appearance dating mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries. A store-room which can be visited in the monastery buildings holds a wide and fascinating array of rock specimens which bear witness to the rich volcanic history of the area. The man-made lake at Pithari may seem incongrous in the dry landscape of western Lesbos, but the gnarled volcanic hills of this part of the island hold unexpected resources of water. The streams which fill this lake originate in the mountainous area to the north and east of the monastery. In one of the tight creases of this massif is a succession of three waterfalls and pools, referred to generally as the ‘Megas Lakkos’ or ‘the great pool’. It is no table that the falls have water throughout the year. Such a rich seam in what is a virtually treeless ravine reminds one of the underlying gift—or miracle—of these rocky islands in the sea: that their arid stone gives life to fresh water, and the water in turn gives life to human settlement. Without such springs and streams there would be no island history.
Access to Megas Lakkos is easiest from a point c. 5.3km north of Eresos, i.e. mid-way on the main route between Eresos and the junction with the Antissa–Sigri road. A sign on a road-side rock marks a descending track to the right (east) towards the ‘Agroktima Krinelou’ (ΑΓΚΡΟΚΤΗΜΑ ΚΡΙΝΕΛΟΥ).This is the beginning of the path which leads to the falls. The walk takes about 2 hours return; detailed instructions can be obtained under ‘New Routes’ at www.lesvoswalks.net.
Lesvos Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island Group, Greece.