Mount Olympos

The road which leaves to the south from the upper extremity of the village of Aghiasos crosses the eastern side of Mount Olympos, towards the south coast. The variety of tree-cover on this one mountain massif makes it a rich habitat for wild flowers and animals. It is the only home in Europe of the Persian squirrel and of the Kruper’s nut hatch (Sitta krueperi), often seen moving restlessly in the tops of pine-trees and emitting its variety of distinctive calls. In the spring wild peonies can be found amongst the trees; there are also wild tulips and orchids, including the rare and fragile Comper’s orchid, Comperia comperiana, recognisable by its highly ‘stylised’ petals with curious long streamers, and its deep textured rusty-magenta colour. More easily found, but no less remarkable, is Dracunculus vulgaris—the showy, purple dragon lily, as well as the larger and fatter Arum elongatum. In the highest parts of the mountain there are stippled meadow saffron flowers (Colchicum variegatum) and yellow Sternbergia lutea in the autumn; while in spring there are fritillaries (Fritillaria graeca and pontica), an endemic alyssum (Alyssum lesbiacum), speedwell and saxifrage.
   The road ceases to be paved 3km beyond the abandoned remains of the Sanatorium (3km above Aghiasos) which are situated at a point with wide views across the island towards the east and into the Turkish mainland. Thereafter the steep descent is panoramic but slow as far as Megalochori, from where a road which is surfaced once again leads down the Sedounda gorge to Plomari. The protected micro-climate of these south-facing valleys is the only area in the Aegean Islands where the rich yel low azalea, Rhododendron luteum, grows.

Lesvos Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island Group, Greece.
Mount Olympos in Lesvos Island.


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