Dafia is a small mountainous village some 46 kilometers away from Mytilene. Named in honor of Dafia Artemida (the goddess Artemis) who was worshiped in the wider region, the settlement dates from early antiquity. Set in a predominantly arid landscape, this remote farming village was once home to the watchtower from which the ancient administrative centers of Mytilene and Molyvos would have been surveyed. The first written reference to Dafia dates back to the 15-16th century AD.
Dafia was one of the 24 settlements of the ‘kambos’ (plain) of the Byzantine Period. The ruins of the nearby, subsequently abandoned settlements of Trianda, Khlios and Agios Leondios may still be seen in the fields surrounding the village.
Dafia’s church of the Virgin Mary was erected in 1792. In the 16th century AD, Dafia would have been inhabited by an equal number of Ottomans (who settled in Dafia because of the mild climate enjoyed by the village) and Greeks. Of the several Ottoman buildings once in existence in Dafia, the mosque, bathhouse and harems have recently been demolished. In 1922, the Greek population of the village grew with the re-patriation of refugees from Asia Minor.
Dafia is set in proximity to the Monastery of Limonos (‘Moni Limonos’, 14 kilometers northwest of Kalloni town). Established during the Byzantine era, the Monastery grounds contain a variety of religious buildings, including a museum and a small zoo, and some amazing 16th-century iconography and murals. A selection of minerals and a separate collection of folklore items can also be admired on the premises.