Recent excavations undertaken by the Ephorate of Antiquities of the Greek island of Lesvos, have unearthed Byzantine structures and baths dating to the Ottoman era in Mytilene.
According to Pavlos Triantaphyllides, the head of the Ephorate, the findings are of particular importance for the defence architecture of the Castle of Mytilene during early Byzantine history.
In fact, Triantaphyllides noted that it has now been established that the pre-Byzantine gate of the Castle is connected to the hitherto-unknown Byzantine settlement of Melanoudi.
Entering the castle from Epano Skala, an Ottoman bath from the 16th century was discovered, which is in “very good condition.”
This is the earliest bath that has ever been found on the island of Lesvos.
It belonged to Hayreddin Barbarossa, who was originally from Mytilene.
The most important finding, however, lies beneath the foundations of the bath- the early Byzantine gate of the 7th century AD.
“This gate is made of amazing marble from an ancient material, being recycled from previous use. It has a total height of 3.20 meters (10.5 feet), and a width of 2.05 meters (6.7 feet) and a depth of two meters (6.5 feet),” Triantaphyllides said.
“A total of nine slabs of local gray-white marble were used for its construction, while cavities in the lintel indicate the existence of a wooden door, adapted with swivels,” the archaeologist added.
According to the recent findings, the Byzantine city was located four meters down from the current surface where people walk today inside the castle.
In addition, in the lower castle area, a new bicycle path will be created as part of the co-financed European program of Sustainable Urban Regeneration.
Two Ottoman-era homes are also being restored:
- One will serve as a centre of information for the entire history of the island
- The other will offer space for educational programs for children, who will be also able to tour the ancient and medieval-era ruins, led by archaeologists.
“We will explain to the children how they were built, how the houses, the temples, the walls were built. And the children will be given a complete picture of what this medieval castle of Mytilene was like,” Triantaphyllides concluded.
*More on GCT: Lesvos (Mytilene) like a local