- Agra village in Lesvos Agra village in Lesvos
- Women's Cooperative in Mesotopos of Lesvos Women's Cooperative in Mesotopos of Lesvos
Agra is a beautiful hilltop village some 70 kilometers southwest of Mytilene. The settlement has been dated back to early antiquity and, according to local legend, has links with the first Monarch of Lesvos. ‘Agra’ is an ancient term for ‘hunting’ and the area was once the hunting ground of King Makaros.
Today, Agra is a picturesque settlement on the way to popular coastal resorts such as Eressos and Sigri. Memorable for its narrow lanes, traditional architecture and well-tended streets, Agra is highly worth visiting. The village of 1500 residents (Agra’s population reaches 2500 in the months of summer) is a wonderfully idyllic location, its long history and palate-pleasing traditional goods two of the main attractions to the village.
Agra began as a coastal settlement whose residents later took to the hills in an attempt to evade the danger of piracy. According to local legend, King Makaros would have scoured the countryside of Agra, hunting for fowl and the many pheasants which once nested in the area. The golden loom of one of the King’s daughters, it is rumored, had been buried in Agra’s chapel of Saint George. While the priceless loom is yet to be discovered, it is easy to access why Agra is steeped in legend - the village scenery changes with the coming of each season, providing a fertile ground for the imagination and a wonderful sight to please the roaming eyes of Agra’s undeservedly rare visitors.
The residents of Agra are predominantly involved in agriculture and farming and Agra enjoys a long tradition in high-quality dairy. Its cheeses and dairy products have earned the village its reputation as a producer of superior perishable goods. If you are in Agra, do have a taste of the local cheeses, yogurt and cream: the graviera, feta cheese, fresh milk and butter of Agra are renowned nationally. For a selection of preserves, sweetmeats and handmade pasta to take home with you, pop in to the local Agricultural Cooperative of the Women of Agra (est. 2006). You will find a selection of spoon sweets, cookies and a variety of locally-produced goods to bring home to your loved ones. While in the area, do also have a taste of the local ‘platsenda’ (a traditional dessert made from nuts in a casing of thick filo pastry and doused in thick syrup), ‘mitzithra’ cheese pastries (‘giouzlemedes’) and beef and pasta slowly cooked in tomato sauce – there is a small selection of cafes serving a variety of mezedes and local dishes in Agra village.
A wealth of elm trees grows in Agra, adorning the village landscape with their imposing height (25- 30 meters) and grace. The charming village square is a shady spot that attracts a large number of Agra residents who come here for a chat and a glass of cool ouzo. One of the trees growing in the square is claimed to be over 700 years old. Its huge, hollowed-out trunk has been equipped with a door and it is said that the old plane tree would have acted as a storage-room: the coolness in its interior would have helped preserve a variety of goods (mostly meat).
Agra’s church of Agios Dimitrios contains numerous ancient ecclesiastical items and a handsome iconostasis of carved wood. Created in 1807, it is a rare work of art that beautifully adorns the main village church. Taxiarches, Panagiouda, Saint John and Saint George are some of the small picturesque chapels to be encountered in Agra.
There are numerous archaeological sites in the vicinity of the village. The ruins of an ancient castle have been discovered just three kilometers away from the main settlement, while visitors to Agra’s harbors of Makara and Apothika can observe the remains of Prehistoric fortifications and the ruins of an unidentified ancient temple on the islet at the entrance to the Kalloni Bay.
The coastal location of Makara has been named after King Makaros, the first King of Lesvos, while Apothika is a beautiful coastal location near the entrance to Kalloni Bay. The small fishing harbor is one of the most picturesque spots in the region. There are numerous old cafes and tavernas serving fresh fish dishes and local delicacies. Apothika’s chapel of Agios Panteleimon celebrates on July 27th.