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A very different island

Mount Elias

Lémnos (or Límnos) hardly fits any Greek island stereotypes. Greece’s eighth largest island is volcanic but lies low, with gently rolling hills: a green carpet in the spring that goes yellow-brown in the summer, dotted with vines, wheatfields, quirky scarecrows and beehives producing a famous thyme honey; until the 1960s its main export was cotton.

But the main occupation of Lémnos has long been military, thanks to Moúdros Bay, a magnificent natural harbour strategically near the mouth of the Dardanelles.

Lémnos has a uniquely fragrant mythology. It was the holy island of the smithy god Hephaistos, who was worshipped on Mount Móschylus, which in ancient times emitted a fiery jet of asphaltic gas; today the volcanic past is manifest in its astringent hot springs and the highly sulphuric ‘Lemnian earth’, found near Repanídi, used from ancient times for healing wounds, snakebite and stomach aches.

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North Aegean Islands

Text © Dana Facaros

Images by ale3andro, Alessandro Arzilli, michael clarke stuff, / TB5050 at Greek Wikipedia, ThruTheseLines, Unknown authorUnknown author, US National Archives, Wikipedia, ΑΝΝΑ ΜΠΟΥΚΟΡΟΥ / Annaboukorou at Greek Wikipedia