Ayia Marina, a small coastal settlement and one of the
two harbors in the island, has expanded with time
and joined up with Platanos, the oldest settlement and
the capitol of the island.
It is the administrative and commercial center and has the most
From afar it looks like a small city spread out in an
amphithetrical shape between two mountain slopes with
white houses which stretch from the waterfront all the
way to the foot of Kastro. (Fortress)
Many traditional two-story houses have been preserved in Platanos
and among them are numerous mansions so densely built that they create
narrow, picturesque lanes which lure the visitor down them.
To savour the nostalgic atmosphere of the old town, Avlaki with its fountains
with the pure water from the Paliaskloupi spring, or to visit the old windmill.
Town-Hall is housed in two neoclassical buildings and next to it is an
authentic traditional coffeehouse, the "Lerian Club’ one of the few that
have survived today.
Platanos and Ayia Marina, now indissolubly connected communities have the
largest market on the island. It is a beautiful, small and hospitable town which
has a lot to offer you, from its modern stores, where you can buy anything your
heart desires, to the beguiling view from the fabulous Panayia Kastro. Built on
top of Apityki hill, it stands commandingly above Ayia Marina, controlling the
entire region with a panoramic view over the boundless blue Aegean Sea from
Patmos to Kalymnos and beyond to the shores of Asia Minor. If you enjoy a
romantic hike, you can reach it by ascending through the neighborhoods of
Platanos going toward Ayia Paraskevi and from there you take the path
with its approximately 500 stairs. For those in a hurry there is a
comfortable automobile road. The Byzantine castle which was founded on the
ruins of the ancient acropolis of Leros in the 7th century A .D. and completed
during the time of Knights of St. John and the Venetians, is well- maintained.
In its time it was impregnable with three ramparts and offered a sure refuge
to the inhabitants during periods of hostile incursions.
The church of the Panayia stands out among the three
small churches at Kastro; it lies on the west side and is the
most important religious site the Lerians have. It has a
iconostasis with gold inlays and icons worthy of note.
There are many legends surrounding the icon of the Blessed
Virgin of Kastro and the mystery of her power. In the
Ecclesiastical Museum, which is housed in a new building
next to the church, there are displays of rare manuscripts
and holy books, precious icons, sacred vestments and
other ecclesiastical articles. There are large
underground storerooms and water cisterns at the castle.
Photos taken by the Captain on Leros Island