- Agii Akindini wall painting in Mistegna chapel Agii Akindini wall painting in Mistegna chapel
- Panoramic view of Mistegna in Lesvos Panoramic view of Mistegna in Lesvos
Mistegna is located 13.8 kilometers north of Mytilene. Set in proximity to the Monasteries of Saint Rafael (Thermi) and Taxiarches (Mandamados), the village might benefit from the occassional visit by tourists on their way back from the religious sites of Mandamados and Thermi, however, the sleepy location has so far escaped tourist development and wholly preserves its traditional character.
Mistegna is set in a landscape of olive groves 100 meters above sea level. Visitors here can enjoy the far-reaching views to the East, seek a sample of the red stone of Mistegna (which has been used to build or adorn the majority of stone-built houses on Lesvos) and discover the main attractions to the village: the church of the Assumption of the Virgin (1836) and the restored olive press with its characteristic tall chimney.
The chapel of Agii Akindini is set in the countryside just outside the village. An old, abandoned building surrounded by ancient monastic cells, the chapel is brought to life on the fourth Sunday after Easter each year, on the feast of its homonymous Saints. Agii Akindini are especially revered in the area, their feast an occasion for the revival of the ancient rite of animal sacrifice but in a more subdued manner than in other parts of Lesvos. Similar to the traditional celebratory practices of Agia Paraskevi and Pigi, Mistegna, too, has preserved the traditional rite of the sacrificial slaughter of a bull to celebrate a religious festival.
The bull is carefully adorned with wreaths of fresh, scented roses and paraded around the village to the sound of traditional music - a violinist, an accordionist and a drummer typically lead the procession together with a group of young men on horseback. As the procession makes its way through the village, the women of Mistegna pour their donations of olive oil (to be used in the cooking of the bull’s meat) in a large vat carried by a quartet of men. As the bull and pilgrims progress through Mistegna, donations of money are collected in order to purchase next year’s sacrificial animal. Whoever makes the highest donation will have the privilege of slaying the bull (though, in more recent years, the task of slaughtering the animal has begun being assumed by a professional).
If you are keen to discover more about one the island’s best-known traditional festival practices, do come to Mistegna on Agii Akindini Day - you will the chance to observe one of the age-old customs surrounding village life since the time of ancient idololatry and indulge in a little ‘kiskets’ (a meal of the bull’s flesh, herbs, spices and wheat) and one or more glasses of ouzo under the lilacs and crab apple trees in Mistegna square.
Skala Mistegnon is the village harbor. With its beautiful beach and views to the East, it is a popular location ideal for swimming and a long meal by the shore of the sea. The beaches of Skala Neon Kidonion, Agios Georgios and Petalidi are also worth visiting.