Lesbos (Greek: Λέσβος, Lesvos; Greek pronunciation: [ˈle̞zvo̞s]), sometimes referred to as Mytilini after its capital, is a Greek island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea. It has an area of 1,632 square kilometers (630 sq mi) with 320 kilometers (199 miles) of coastline, making it the third largest Greek island. It is separated from Turkey by the narrow Mytilini Strait.
Lesbos is a separate regional unit of the North Aegean region, and the only municipality within it. Its population is approximately 86,000, a third of which lives in its capital, Mytilene, in the southeastern part of the island. The remaining population is distributed in small towns and villages. The largest are Plomari, Kalloni, the Gera Villages, Agiassos, Eresos, and Molyvos(the ancient Mythimna). Mytilene was founded in the 11th century BC by the family Penthilidae, who arrived from Thessaly, and ruled the city-state until a popular revolt (590–580 BC) led by Pittacus of Mytileneended their rule. In early Middle Ages, it was under Byzantine and Genovese rule. Lesbos was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1462, who ruled the island until the First Balkan Warin 1912, when it became part of the Kingdom of Greece.
Lesbos lies in the far east of the Aegean sea, facing the Turkish coast (Gulf of Edremit) from the north and east; at the narrowest point, the strait is about 5.5 km (3.4 mi) wide. Shape of the island is roughly triangular, but it is deeply intruded by the gulfs of Kalloni 110square metres wide, with an entry on the southern coast, and ofGera 42 square metres wide, in the southeast.
The island is forested and mountainous with two large peaks, Mt. Lepetymnos at 968 m (3,176 ft) and Mt. Olympus at 967 m (3,173 ft), dominating its northern and central sections. The island's volcanic origin is manifested in several hot springs and the two gulfs. Twelve historic churches on the island were listed together on the 2008 World Monuments Fund's Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world. Exposure to the elements, outmoded conservation methods, and increased tourism are all threats to the structures. It is hoped that increased attention to their declining states will aid in their preservation.
Lesbos contains one of the few known petrified forests and has been declared a Protected Natural Monument, included also in the European Geopark Network. Fossilised plants have been found in many localities on the western part of the island. The fossilised forest was formed during the Late Oligocene to Lower–Middle Miocene, by the intense volcanic activity in the area. Neogene volcanic rocks dominate the central and western part of the island, comprising andesites, dacites and rhyolites, ignimbrite, pyroclastics, tuffs, and volcanic ash. The products of the volcanic activity covered the vegetation of the area and the fossilization process took place during favourable conditions. The fossilized plants are silicified remnants of a sub-tropical forest that existed on the north-west part of the island 20-15 million years ago.