Situated at the head of the Gulf of Kalloni, almost at the centre of Lesvos,
Kalloni is the natural hub of the island, both geographically and commercially.
As well as the wide and thriving main street,
full of the usual mix of butchers, greengrocers, hardware stores, cafÚs and banks,
the town supports three supermarkets,
four electrical stores, each with a wide range of upmarket kitchen appliances,
and an improbable number of hairdressers and lingerie shops.
The main bus interchange for the island is also here, with connections
for school and service buses from the north and west.
Around Kalloni there are a number of interesting places to visit if you have a car -
they are not really practicable without.
The Convent of Myrsiniotissis
The convent of the Virgin of Myrsiniotissis was
founded in 1527 as a sister community to the nearby monastery of Leimonos.
Nestling into the side of a south-facing hill, the timbered cloisters grouped around well cared-for gardens
have a peace and intimacy which should appeal to even the most unregenerate visitor.
Together with the monks of Leimonos, the nuns here helped to preserve the native Lesviot spirit and culture
during the most oppressive years of Ottoman occupation.
At the next crossroads towards Kalloni, the road to the right runs through Dafia
and after about three kilometres uphill comes to the monastery of Leimonos.
Founded in 1523, and in layout not unlike a traditional university college,
this complex is completely different in scale to Myrsiniotisis, but retains much of its peaceful atmosphere.
Most of its monastic cells are now empty, and its depopulation is reflected in its increasing dilapidation
although in the time since this page was first written there has been a burst of repairs and renovations.
There has also been an explosion in the number of small chapels built on the monastery's lands with private donations.
(There is a double benefit to the faithful donors - tax breaks on earth and brownie points in heaven!)
There are two small museums, one mainly of icons and offerings to the Archangel Michael,
patron saint of the monastery, from grateful petitioners, and historic documents from the monastery archives,
and a folk history collection which will probably be of more interest to the secular visitor.
There is also a large colony of peafowl, part of the small collection of animals kept by the monks
Further up the hill on the main road a large chapel
on a mound to the right
marks the site of the Ottoman capitulation in 1912,
which finally returned Lesvos to Greek rule.
Built in the 14th or 15th century, this elegant arch was once part of an important trade route between Mitilene
and the north of the island, and has survived six hundred years in almost perfect condition.
For a walk around Leimonos and Myrsiniotissis see 'On Foot - Circular Walks on Lesvos'
and to Kremasti, 'On Foot in North Lesvos'