Take the main road from Mytilene to Kalloni, turn right at the salt-pans and you’ll come to Agia Paraskevi, a lovely town with a traditional settlement and important private and public buildings. Known for its spiritual and cultural activity, it is the seat of the Municipality of Agia Paraskevi and Napi. Many of its private mansions were built during the second half of the 19th century.
Its noteworthy public buildings are:
The Museum of the Lesvos Olive Oil Industry created and run by the Piraeus Club Cultural Foundation (PIOP). This cultural complex is housed in the renovated facilities of an old communal olive oil press, whose use has been turned over to the Foundation by the Municipality. The project was included in the 2000-2006 Northern Aegean Regional Investment Program and was funded by the 3rd Community Support Framework. The Museum is part of the PIOP network of museums of industry and technology and is an extension the project of the Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil in Sparta (Peloponnesus).
The Schoolhouses, built in 1923, in the main square of the village.
The Church of Taxiarchis (1856), a triple-aisled basilica, next in size to Our Lady of Agiassos.
The picturesque chapel of Agia Paraskevi located in the rock cave on the hill above the settlement. The famous Festival of the Bull takes place here.
The Sanctuary of Lesbos
At Klopedi, five kilometers outside of town, is the archeological site and ruins of an Archaic and Classical-period temple, which some say is the temple of Apollo Napaeos. Column capitals consisting of two large volutes and a palmette filling the space between them supporting the epistyle were found here. Scholars call this type of capital Aeolic. This name is justified not only because of the geographical area in which the largest number of the most typical examples were found, but also because of their shape.
The Temple of the Mesa
The archeological sites at Agia Paraskevi are especially important, since ancient Lesbians worshipped many gods in large sanctuaries in the kambos, fragments of which have been found. The temple of Mesa, dedicated to Zeus, Dionysus and Hera, was the center of ancient Lesbian worship and communication. In the early 4th century BC, it was the seat of the League of Lesbian cities. The site contains many architectural fragments from the temple. In early Christian times, a funerary basilica was built on top of the temple, which was later supplanted by a post-Byzantine church. An enormous quantity of relics, ruins, altars and remains still exist in the area, testifying to the religious life of the Lesbian people who came here to worship at the great temple of Pyrra. Legend also has it that the Apostle Paul came here in 52 AD to preach Christianity to the inhabitants of the island.
The Bridge of Kremasti
The 8½ meter high Bridge of Kremasti is located 3½ klm northwest of Agia Paraskevi on the road to Stypsi at the fork of the Tsiknias River. The bridge dates from the time of the Gateluzzi (1355-1462).
The village has a women’s collective (The Sellada), which produces a large variety of sweets, baked goods, preserves, handmade pasta, trachanas (porridge meal) and much more.
The village of Napi belongs to the Municipality of Agia Paraskevi. In antiquity the word napi meant forested valley or a ravine traversed by a river. The ground floor of the village’s Primary School (supervised by the 10th Ephor of Classical Antiquities) contains an exhibit of Aiolic capitals, found in the courtyard of the chapel of the Taxiarchis at Trouloti Napi, and other archeological fragments collected in the area.
Other rooms of the Primary School display a small folklore collection of utensils and tools from the traditional Lesbian home. On exhibit as well is a painting depicting Smyrna (Izmir) by the folk artist Theophilos.