Thursday, September 21, 2017

Molyvos (or should I say Mithymna) and Filia

Molyvos or Mithymna

The city of Molyvos, near the sea, has two names: Molyvos and Mithymna. Molyvos is the name used during the Middle Ages or according to an other source: the name used during the Ottoman period. Nowadays you see mostly Mithymna but because I keep forgetting the modern name, I prefer using Molyvos.

Molyvos with its towering castle looks very inviting; you park your car just outside the city from where you have a magnificent view of the city.

Molyvos castle, Lesbos.

From there you take a small, narrow winding street up to the castle. (There is a car route directly to the castle and then you go down to visit the city, but this way is much more fun.)

Molyvos, winding street going up to the castle; courtesy of Suat Özönder

The winding and shaded streets remind me of Agiasos, a small town on the slope of Mount Olympos, at 475 m height, known for its pottery and woodwork. Molyvos too sells ceramics, among other things. I bought an oven dish some years ago and I love using it because of the colors, the shape and.... because it washes so easily, the food doesn't stick to it. Along the main winding street are restaurants with fabulous views, pastry shops, ceramics shops, postcard shops, the usual souvenir shops and the more refined ones,

Molyvos, Lesbos: view from a restaurant.

Molyvos, Lesbos: shaded streets selling souvenirs; courtesy of Suat Özönder

 and I left my heart at "Istos", an unpretentious shop from the outside, in the A. Kyriakos square. A young couple, both framers, run this shop selling all kinds of pictures and images, mostly of Lesbos, a lot of them impeccably  framed by the couple; I was so focused on the pictures, it was so terribly hot and the lack of time makes that I only remember clothes and some  mugs as other articles in the shop; their business cards says: hand-made Greek objects, but I couldn't tell you what else they had besides clothes and some mugs. You definitely should visit this shop when you are in Molyvos! and the square it is on is very picturesque and inviting. Molyvos has great and sophisticated shops!

A. Kyriakos Square at Molyvos, Lesbos
Mansion at A. Kyriakos square, Molyvos, Lesbos.

Do you love cutwork embroidery? I do! It is simple, yet sophisticated, it has a quiet but strong presence and is always elegant. Greeks like it also: their curtains are in it, their table cloths, even restaurants like "Kalderimi" in Mytilini, the capital of Lesbos, use them.

Molyvos: cutwork embroidery

How about this one: a curtain in a restaurant we went to in November 2013 in Parga, Greece; a very very picturesque small city with a castle, a small monastery on a tiny island in the bay and many more.


We decided to take an other route back to the hotel and good for us, we found the small town of Filia on our road. At a small distance from the city, we got out of the car to take pictures of 2 very special houses along the road. They are a good example of the style of the houses in this town: natural stone and bricks are used and mixed together.

When we got out of the car and looked around, we saw that the city had a mosque; that meant that the city had a long history; we decided to pay Filia a visit. Entering from the side where the minaret stood, there was a nice surprise: we saw a small, lovely 3-arched bridge in true Ottoman style, obviously not in use any more even the riverbed was only faintly visible.  On our way back to the car, we crossed the senior in the picture; he just said: "Turk"! We were much intrigued by his spontaneous remark: was he a Turk, still living among Greeks? was he referring to the mosque? what did he mean? We tried to start a conversation, but obviously he only spoke Greek and we didn't get any more information out of him.

Filia: 3-arched Ottoman bridge; courtesy of Suat Özönder.

We parked the car and went for the minaret. It is mostly intact, the mosque too but is used as a warehouse. It was surrounded by a fence so we couldn't take good pictures or have a good view.

Filia: view of the mosque; courtesy of Suat Özönder.

On leaving the city, we saw that there was much more to see and decided to come back to visit Filia some other time in the future. 

Momardica charantina

 Momardica charantina or bitter melon, bitter gourd.

Have you ever seen this plant? Do you know this plant? It is the momardica charantina or the bitter melon or the bitter gourd. According to an ancient  Greek theory, the plant itself  tells us what you can use it for, what it benefits are. What does it looks like to you? Doesn't it resemble the inside of a stomach? Yes: if you cut the fruit in pieces, clean it from the powerful colored red and sticky seeds and let it steep in olive oil for some weeks, if you then take a table spoon of the mixture on an empty stomach, it'll heal your stomach problems; it is also good for the skin and contains antibiotics. This decorative fruit is ripe in this season and if you don't have them in your garden, maybe your neighbor has some to spare! I made a collage with the clear green leaves and a tiny yellow flower, that becomes a hard to discover green, unripe fruit; when it turns bright orange in September, it is ripe; dry the seeds, store them well to plant next year!

See you, Lesbos! 😢😢😢

Lesbos, as seen from Turkey at a wonderful sunset.

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