Ambeliko - The Center of the Former Pine-Resin Industry of Lesvos

  1. General Information
  2. Ambeliko Attractions
  3. Ambeliko and the Pine-Resin Industry of Lesvos
  4. Nearby Attractions

General Information

Located 21 kilometers away from Plomari, Ambeliko is an extremely picturesque village built on the side of Mount Olympos.

The original settlement was situated in the Rougada ravine and enjoyed panoramic views of the Aegean Sea but was also highly visible from the shore. Ambeliko was relocated in the 19th century AD when, according to historical data, the ever-present fear of pirate attack was finally materialized. Ambeliko was immobilized by a wedding feast lasting a number of days and putting a halt to all other activity in the village when Saracean pirates invaded, compelling the villagers to relocate to the current position of Ambeliko.

The contemporary village is located in an area of extensive natural beauty, in the ravine between the valley of Vourkos and the slopes of Mount Olympos.

Mount Olympos has an altitude of 968 meters and is densely forested. Pines, plane trees, chestnuts, elms and a variety of fruit-bearing trees mantle the sides of the mountain, creating a rich ecosystem not to be found anywhere else on Lesvos. The earth is dotted with mushrooms, rare species of orchid, wild cyclamens and tulips. Seemingly hidden in the rich vegetation, a number of old chapels adorn the overgrown landscape and tempt visitors to come in and pay their respects. Ambeliko has borrowed something of the multifaceted beauty of its surroundings. Running streams and a plenitude of pines compose the landscape surrounding the village.

Ambeliko Attractions

A 16-meter tall Genoan watchtower dominates the centre of the village. It is believed that the Tower of Ambeliko had an original altitude of 27 meters but was shortened owing to concerns about safety in the year 1830. The watchtower is a relic of the Genoan occupation of Lesvos and incorporates a number of eastern architectural elements added in subsequent years, when Lesvos was under the Ottoman rule.

The main village church is a three-tiered basilica dedicated to Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas). The church presents important historical interest. Speculation about its construction portends that Agios Nikolaos was erected in the Byzantine era and renovated in the years 1710 and 1805. In 1999, the interior of the church was adorned with murals by renowned hagiographer Alexandros Smilis.

The Folklore Museum of Ambeliko is situated opposite the church and becomes a meeting point for village residents after service has ended each Sunday. The museum is open in summer and subject to arrangement year-round. It is considered a small treasure-trove of local folklore and will provide visitors with an insight into life in the Ambeliko of the past.

Ambeliko includes two hostels where visitors can stay the night free of charge. There are three traditional cafes in the village, where you can enjoy a chat with the locals and taste a variety of local dishes.

Ambeliko and the Pine-Resin Industry of Lesvos

Ambeliko is renowned for its long-standing history in pine sap collection and former pine-resin industry, to which it continues to pay tribute. Visit the Ambeliko Pine Resin Museum and learn about the Lesvian trade in pine resin, or go on a walk in the woods and have a tour of the main sap harvesting areas.

The ‘Monopatia Ritinis’ (Pine Resin Paths) is a walk from Ambeliko Museum to the ‘Parko Ritinis’ (Pine Resin Park). The uphill trek will lead you to the richly forested slopes of Mount Olympos and finally take you to the hut where, years ago, the ‘retsinades’ (pine sap collectors) would dwell.

Nearby Attractions

Starting from the church of Agios Nikolaos, a well-marked route will guide you from Ambeliko to the 22 chapels dotted across the vicinity.

The Ambeliko river sources from the area of Kambia, traverses the lower end of the village and drains into the river of Stavros. Another area of interest is the wetland of Kotsinas, located at a distance of 5 kilometers from the village. The wetland provides a habitat to a number of creatures such as different species of bird and fish, crabs, terrapins and eels, and a visit here is highly advisable.

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