Lesbos Petrified Forest

lesvos-petrified-forest The road north out of Eressos village in Lesbos, takes you past the island’s much advertised Petrified Forest which was formed when the Mount Ordymnos erupted and drowned the trees in ash, an estimated 20million years or so ago. Earth tremors helped submerge the forest further, eventually turning the trees to stone.

At three kilometres across it is bigger than the better-known petrified forest in Arizona. But generations of souvenir hunters have walked off from the Lesvos Petrified Forest with the best examples, and what few tree stumps remain can sadly disappoint those making the two kilometre walk from Sigri to see them.

Locals seem amazed that anyone would want to trek through barren countryside to look at such a meagre collection of dried up tree stumps and they may have a point.

Set high on a former volcano is the handsome Ipsilou monastery founded in the 9th century and rebuilt in the 12th. It well worth a visit just to enjoy the splendid courtyard, small museum of ecclesiastical oddments and inevitable bits of petrified wood.

It once had some fine frescoes but these were touched-up in the early 1990s and no longer worth seeing. Visitors must also ignore the cluster military buildings that share the same site if they want to enjoy the heady views.