In the ancient Greek language, “Leros” means mild, gentle. In fact, it seems that this description about this island is still true, as it has a gentle development of tourism, smooth rocks, fertile valleys and enclosed coves. The shape of the island reminds us of an ideogram. Moreover, on this island you can find a medieval castle in Agia Marina, early Italian modernism in Lakki, gold beaches, Byzantine chapels, watermills, mansions, as well as shipwrecks. Nevertheless, Leros has inadvertently been stigmatized for many decades. This has been happening since 1985, when the psychotherapy centre started working and additionally, since 1987, when the island was used by the Greek military junta as an internal exile for any political opponents. This “stigmatization” has though vanished shortly before the end of the 20th century. However, it turned out that it has protected the island from the massive influx of tourists, fully confirming the old saying “every cloud has a silver lining”.
The Lodge of the nude
It is situated in the area Ai Giorgis. The 16th Lodge of the State Psychiatric Hospital of Leros was quite away from the rest of Lepida’s buildings, as it was here that the most serious psychiatric incidents were sent. It was built by the Italian conquerors, so as the sailors and the officers of their submarines could be billeted. On 14 August 1940, it was from this place that the crew of the submarine Delfino left and one day later it torpedoed the Greek cruiser “Elli” in the port of Tinos. From 1967 to 1970, it was sheltering political exiles that came from the military camps of Gyaros. From 1985, when the most difficult and serious psychiatric incidents of the SPHL started to be sent here, until 1994, when it was closed for good –due to an international outcry- it constituted a matter of extreme embarrassment and disgrace for the public health system of our country. * Source: www.leros-hospital.gr
The mansion of N. Tsigadas
This mansion, that is currently deserted and forlorn, is linked with several historical moments of the island. It is located in Lepida, which is the only building that belongs to the late Ottoman period. It was built in 1884 and it has neoclassical as well as baroque characteristics. It was the summer house of Nikolaos Tsigadas Pasas, a rich Egyptian merchant, who was also president of the Greek Community of Cairo and benefactor of Leros. During the Italian occupation, it was very famous as a club of the officers of the seaplane base Rosseti. In 1949, it included the Employees’ Club, the Agricultural College and the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Royal Technical Schools. In 1964, the building was assigned to the “Psychopath Colony of Leros”, in order to shelter the Child Psychiatric Clinic. After that, local people used to call the building “Pedakia” (meaning: children). It reached a point when it included 160 beds, a number disproportionate in comparison with its surface area (466 m2). In 1991, it was closed and evacuated for good.
The shipwrecks of Leros
The strategic importance of Leros during the World War II has left a diving treasure on the island’s continental shelf. In the seabed, there are shipwrecks of warships and remains of downed aircrafts.
The cuisine of Leros is based on local pure ingredients and –mainly-traditional recipes. Of course, fish and other seafood constitute a unique tasting experience, since they are totally fresh and their price is reasonable. You should taste “koukouvades” (red mullets with rosemary and raisins), “kakavia” (Greek fish soup), smoked octopus and sea-urchin salad. In addition, you should taste the local mizithr, which is used in the traditional cheese pie, as well as in the small fava pies.
The local meat is also very delicious, since the animals are fed with the particularly aromatic flora of the island. The goat cooked in egg-and-lemon sauce, as well as lahanodolmades (cabbage rolls), are truly remarkable dishes. Here, diples (Greek dessert) are called “laggites”, loukoumades are called “sviggi” and “patsavouropita” is the local version of yogurt pie. Finally, you can drink “gkavafa” (juice from the fruit of a small uncultivated bush belonging to Mirtoidi), which is rich in vitamin A and Omega-3 fatty acids.
For dessert, you should taste the famous “amigdalota” of the island, the “pouggakia” or the homemade spoon sweets, such as bitter orange, quince and eggplant.
Leros lies 175 nautical meters from Piraeus. It is connected to the central port of the country on a daily basis via ships of the Dodecanese line. You will need 8.30 hours to get to Leros by means of high-speed passenger ships/car carrier ships.
There is also dense coastal connection with the neighboring islands (Samos, Fournoi, Ikaria, Patmos, Leipsoi, Agathonisi, Kalymnos, Symi, Kos and Rhodes) via conventional ships or via hydrofoils and catamarans.
Four local bus lines (KTEL) connect the port (Lakki), as well as the island’s Chora (Platanos) with the main settlements of the island.
There are flights to Leros from the El. Venizelos airport on a daily basis by means of tractor driven airplanes of Olympic Air, which have 38 and 50 seats. The flight duration is 60’. The airport of the island is located on the north side, near Partheni. During the summer months, there are many charter flights coming from abroad.
Port Authorities of Piraeus:
+30 210 4226000
Port Authorities of Leros (Lakki):
+30 22470 22224
Port Authorities of Agia Marina:
+30 22470 23256
Airport of Leros:
+30 22470 22777
Municipality of Leros:
+30 22470 23711
+30 22470 23058
+30 22470 22222
+30 22470 23978