During our vacation to Lesvos (as the Greek call Lesbos themselves) we visited the Castle of Molyvos. Last year we also wanted to see this castle, but we went on a Monday. Monday is the day that many things are closed in Greece, including the castle. With that lesson learned we visited this year the castle on another day.
Lets correct one thing right away: Molyvos is not the official name of the town. The correct name is Mythimna. The name Molyvos was used during the Ottoman Period (1462-1912) and is still used often. I always compared it to that many people call The Netherlands Holland, which is basically incorrect (we have to provinces called North Holland and South Holland, but the are 10 provinces more as those two).
It is said that the people of Lesbos prefer the name Mythimna because the name Molyvos reminds them of the 450 year occupation of their island.
The castle on top of a hill, surrounded by the town is a sight to see. It makes the town a place that is loved by visitors and tourists. It is said that the castle is one of the most impressive castles of Greece.
The castle was built during the Byzantine area, but there has been an earlier castle that, according the stories, was besieged by Achilles himself during the Trojan War.
Throughout the years the castle has been repaired and renovated, and today it’s considered to be one of the most well preserved fortresses in Eastern Mediterranean.
As already said it was built during the Byzantine era on the ancient remains of the fortification for the defense of the locals against the Turkish and Frankish invasions. Because of its important strategic position, the castle of Molyvos could control the north passage to Adrammitynos Bay.
The exact date of its founding is not known. It was probably built after the mid-13th century and it obviously belongs to the series of the numerous forts that were constructed in that period by the Lesbians, in order to render the defense both against the Turks and the Franks possible. In 1373 it was restored by Francisco Gateluzzo A´. Additions took place during the period of the Turkish occupation (1462-1912).
Restorations commenced in 1976 and up to 1981 a number of strengthenings, rebuildings and joint-fillings in parts of the walls took place. In 1993 a crack in the south bulwark was restored and up to this day consolidation works are carried out in parts of the fortress that bear signs of damage.
During the summer there are all kind of cultural event in the castle. Many well worth to visit.
Apart from visiting the castle self, it is very nice to walk the path around the castle. The outside of the castle is awesome to see, but so are the views of the area around the castle.