The Municipality of Petra is situated to the northwest part of the island. It is consisted of the villages of Petra, of Lafiona, of Skoutaro, of Stypsi, of Ypsilometopo and of the summer resorts of Anaxos and Petri.
This Municipality is 55 kilometers from Mytilene. Petra is a seaside village built in the middle of a green plain, which according to tradition, it was the Achilles' anchorage during the war of Troy. Before we take down the hill, on our way to Petra, we have the chance to admire the view over the village facing the open sea, decorated by the wide beach, the rich vegetation, the cultivations of the villagers and the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the "Glykofilousa", situated on the top of a high rock in the middle of the village.
During the last years, the village of Petra has been developed in a modern summer resort. In the summer, a lot of tourists visit this place, which is the "centre of amusement" with a lot of bars, taverns and restaurants. In the village of Petra, the visitor will find also a branch of the Greek Organism of Telecommunications, banks, a public clinic, a veterinary, cars and bicycles to let. Just opposite the beach of Petra there are three isolated islands.
The biggest of them is called the island of St George. Caiques and fish boats that start from the port of Petra make regular trips to those islands. The visitor has the possibility to organize excursions and to spend the night in the open air. In Petra he will have his portrait made. He can either make sports or go for shopping.
Petra is the country of many personalities of the art and letters. Among them, we distinguish Neokli Kazazi, Thrasyvoulo Stavrou, K. Frilingo and Oresti Kanelli. The ancient (Greek) graves that were found at the position Keramidaria at a distance of 600 metres from the village prove that this place has been inhabited in the past. We have also found coins of the Roman era, Byzantine relieves, a two headed eagle surrounded by a wall in the yard of the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and frescos of the 16th century in the church of St Nikolaos. During the 17th century, the fact that Petra was a high-developed place in the domain of commerce and culture attracted the rapacious interest of the French pirate Hugus de Crevellier, who in 1675 terrifies the islands of Aegean. In the same year, during March, in one night he managed together with 800 pirates to conquest the village of Petra. After the pillage he took with him 500 inhabitants as slaves.
The greatest and brightest religious festival of the village in August 15th every year is the religious festival dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This festival is the most important event at least to the northeast part of the island. From every part of Lesvos We will see believers coming to the Blessed Virgin Mary to honour her sake. Popular dances and songs at the central square of the village accompany this celebration.
Despite the pillage of the whole village, the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary as well as all the other churches in the village of Petra escaped the destruction. This is probably due to the fact that the pirates were Christians.
The village of Petra, like the whole island, did not escape the Turkish enslavement. On the 4th of December in 1912, three warships of the Greek fleet, Athenai, Mycali and Esperis into co-ordination with the Greek army of Mytilene liberated the village of Petra and beaten the Turkish army on the hill of Clapados (680).
The commander in chief of the three Greek warships that anchored in the port of Petra was the Admiral Koundoriotis. The Turkish army surrendered unconditionally, in the morning of the 8th December in 1912. From the village of Petra, we have the possibility to visit the other villages of the Municipality of Petra, which are especially picturesque
If the visitor prefers to enjoy a beach as beautiful as the beach of Petra and taste traditional delicacies by the sea, he can always visit the summer resort of Anaxos, 2 kilometres from Petra. If he prefers, though, the places and the beaches that are intact from the tourist side effects he can drive another three kilometres from the summer resort of Anaxos to the area of Micri Tsihranda (Ambelia). A little bit further, he will find the village of Skoutaros (7 kilometres from Petra) built on a green slope
The village of Lafionas is situated to the northwest of Petra in a distance of 5 kilometres. It is a picturesque village with a fantastic view over the village of Petra and Mythimna, decorated by the traditional cafes and its beautiful countryside. A "Folklore Museum" is open to the public in the summer. It is established in the Primary School and its exhibition contains objects that the villagers lend to the Museum in order to keep the traditions and the past alive. According to information that passes from generation to generation, the village must have been built 400 years ago (during the period of piracy and the venetian dominion) because, as it is said, every time the inhabitants heard about a raid they quitted the village and took refuge in the woods. In the village there is also a cross-shaped basilica dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was constructed in 1807 and was restored in 1920. Its reredos is made of cypress wood, with which the inhabitants had been supplied from a sailing vessel that was carrying lumber to Smyrna and that because of the bad weather it anchored in the port of Petra. The inhabitants of Lafiona bought it then for 300 gold liras. There are only three temples of this kind on the island of Lesbos. At the rural position "Tekes", which is three kilometres from the village, we will find the first Monastery on the island constructed in 325 p. C. It is dedicated to St Alexander, who had been Mithimna' s First Bishop. St Alexander participated to the A' Ecumenical Synod of Nikea. The church is a paleochristian basilica and among the various founds we will find well maintained the engraved monument made of stone, where the relics of St Alexander was kept.
Another village that belongs to the Municipality of Petra is the village of Stypsi situated to the west side of the mountain Lepetymnos. The village of Stypsi is a characteristic example of mountainous village. At the position "Castreli" we will find ruins of a small medieval castle.
The small village of Petri is situated to the east of the Municipality of Petra, among the walnut trees and the poplars, with a panoramic view over the village of Petra. In the summer, the village of Petri becomes "an international place of meetings and gatherings". The only cafe of the village, apart from the traditional delicacies, it prepares, after order, cock elevated among the fields. The village of Petri is 2,5 kilometers from Petra. It is worth the pain to walk up there in the afternoon in order to enjoy the sunset. If you are a tradition lover you will not miss visiting the watermills at the area of Ligona, 2 kilometres from the village of Petra. Close to the watermills there still are the watercourses and the channels that have been carrying the water of the river to the watermills. Along the river there are plane trees. If you decide to make this excursion you should take with you water and food.