Agii Anargyri - A Secret Greenness Beauty of Lesvos
- General Information
- Agii Anargyri and the Homonymous Chapel
- Agii Anargyri Events
- Agii Anargyri Attractions
- Leisure and Dining in Agii Anargyri
- How to Arrive
- Nearby Attractions
To many, a visit to Agii Anargyri is akin to a journey into the land of fairytales. The remote, profoundly beautiful area is renowned for its greenness and for the sense of tranquility it can bestow to those lucky enough to set foot on Agii Anargyri.
Agii Anargyri (sometimes spelt ‘Agioi Anargyroi’) - is set 25 kilometers away from Mytilene and lies at only a short distance away from Asomatos, the village regarded as the prettiest in the region of Evergetoulas. It is popular with visitors who arrive at Asomatos, explore the village and then proceed to the riverside area in the hope of enjoying its leafy coolness. Whether you are keen to savor a few peaceful moments in the shade of the area’s tall, age-old trees or keen to discover its single café, you are certain to fall for the fecundity and peace of this truly magical setting.
Agii Anargyri is an area of unmatched natural beauty known for its profound greenness and the ever-flowing streams that bestow it an aura of magic. An enchanting destination that entices visitors to roam by the river banks, savor its atmosphere and spend a few peaceful moments in the shady green setting, Agii Anargyri is filled with plane, chestnut, cherry and sour cherry trees, whose leaves turn from green to vivid red in the summer months.
Agii Anargyri and the Homonymous Chapel
Lesvos has an immense religious tradition, each of its churches and chapels bespeaking the profound religious sentiment of its people. While their presence in Lesvos is not half as pronounced as that of the Virgin Mary and Saint Michael the Archangel, who are immensely revered on the island, Agii Anargyri are greatly esteemed in Orthodox Christianity. The chapel of Agii Anargyri (circa 1881) is an integral part of the religious life of Asomatos and attracts pilgrims from the entirety of the island.
‘Anargyros’ is an adjective describing someone who refuses to accept payment for his services and, indeed, the Agii Anargyri Saints are historically claimed to have worked as doctors who never once received payment. While the adjective is commonly used to describe the Saints Kosmas and Damianos, there are in fact three pairs of Saints with the same names. By an amazing coincidence, each Kosmas-Damianos pair were twins who acted as doctors but died on different dates, were sainted in different manners and are celebrated on three different days (September 1st, July 1st and October 17th).
Agii Anargyri Events
The twin Saints Kosmas and Damianos died in the year 284 AD and are believed to have converted Emperor Karinos to Christianity in the course of their martyrdom. Their memory is celebrated on July 1st, when Agii Anarygri becomes filled with people who come to the chapel to pay their respects to the Saints and take part in the festivities.
Celebrations commence on the 30th of June, an auspicious date as the care of olive trees has been mostly completed, summer vegetables have been planted and the harvest is still small. At least in the past, the end of June marked the time of year when the residents of Asomatos could afford to relax and enjoy an evening of music and dancing. It is said that the children of Asomatos would arise early on July 1st only to crawl under the tables and chairs used in the previous night’s celebrations and look for coins that might have dropped out of the pockets of the participants to the feast.
The festival of Agii Anargyri is a long-standing tradition that brings hoards of local residents and visitors from all across Lesvos to the quiet area. It is an opportunity to rejoice in a cool, amazingly beautiful location that is worth coming to on any day of the year.
Agii Anargyri Attractions
A traditional olive press was recently added to the landscape of Agii Anargyri and is a pole of attraction for numerous schools or independent visitors that set off from Asomatos and follow up their visit to the village’s Ecclesiastic Museum and Folklore Exhibition with a walk to the riverside area. The 80-year-old olive press is fully operational: seeing it at work will give you a first-hand experience of the traditional methods used in the extraction of olive oil and you might even enjoy a taste of freshly-baked bread drizzled with olive-oil, a traditional Lesvian treat.
Leisure and Dining in Agii Anargyri
If you find yourself in central Lesvos, do make the trip to Agii Anargyri. The area is simply magical, the riverside location green, shady and cool, and you will be enticed to explore its rich fauna and flora, roam among the trees and rest in the single café that graces Agii Anargyri. It is the perfect spot to sample homemade spoon sweets made from local cherries or sour cherries and savor a cup of Greek coffee or to have a sit-down meal and enjoy a variety of reasonably-priced traditional dishes made from local ingredients. However you decide to spend your visit, you will be enthralled by the beauty of the scenery and cherish your time in the enchanting, profoundly green Agii Anargyri.
How to Arrive
The area is best approached from Asomatos, which deserves a visit in its own right. At a 1.3 kilometer distance from the latter village, Agii Anargyri is served by an overgrown, cobblestone path that begins west of Asomatos, right by the cemetery. For the first 759 meters the route is downhill then becomes flat.
The traditional village of Asomatos is one of the most charming locations on Evergetoulas. A must-visit destination if you venture to central Lesvos, Asomatos retains its original architecture and - though its population has been steadily diminishing since the end of the Greek Civil War - is a site where the traditional crafts of Lesvos have been preserved. Textile and basket weaving continue to maintain the long creative history of the village and an effort has been made to preserve the historical and cultural life of Asomatos.
Asomatos is home to the temple of ‘Taxiarches’ (the Great Archangels), a three-tiered basilica that looks down on the tranquil green village. The church dates from 1796. Surrounded by a glorious flower garden, the church is impressively well-maintained. Within the stone-paved churchyard, visitors will encounter an Ecclesiastic Museum and Folklore Exhibition that include a wealth of age-old books, coins, manuscripts, liturgical vestments and religious icons, as well as many samples of traditional Asomatos crafts. A visit here is strongly advised to anyone interested in gaining a sense of the history of Asomatos.
In the wider region, the valley of Evergetoulas is one of the greenest expanses on Lesvos. Waterfalls, streams, rivers and their tributaries, running springs, marshes and salt pans adorn Evergetoulas, transforming the plain into an amazingly verdant oasis.
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- Published in Lesvos Nature