Lesvos Castle

Turks call the island of Lesbos 'Midilli' because of the name of the city that is at the center of the island of Lesvos, Mytilene. Lesvos has first been conquered by Çaka Bey (1081-1096) the first Turkish Bey of Izmir and the surrounding islands. After a short period of time, though, the island has been reconquered by the Byzantine Empire. The conquest of the island by the Ottomans has been realized by Mehmed the Conqueror in 1462 after a 27 day-long siege. Mahmud Pasha, who was appointed for the administration of Lesvos after the conquest, has ordered the construction of a mosque under the name of Mehmed the Conqueror. The Island in it's last period under Ottoman domination, had a role of being a province of Cezâir-i Bahr-ı Sefîd in the administrative organization of the Ottoman Empire. Although Rhodes and the Dodecanese were invaded by the Italians in 1912, Lesvos was spared. The Greeks invaded the island instead in the fall of 1912 after the commence of the Balkan War. The situation was approved in the London Conference of May 1913. Thus, the 452 yearlong Turkish domination was brought to an end. The Castle has been constructed on the highest site of Lesvos. It has been reconstructed after the earthquakes in 1738, 1806 and 1867. The 1867 earthquake has given serious damage to the Castle, leaving around only 40 or 50 Muslim households inside the Castle. There are three inscriptions referring to the Ottoman period in the Castle, dated 1501, 1644 and 1839. The Castle has five gates. Inside the Castle are two baths, two fountains, one armsplace, the Madrasah of Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha and the Tomb of Musa Baba. The Mosque of Sultan Mehmed Han that was built after the conquest in 1462 and the tombs of Said bin As, Zekran bin Cabir el-Haris and Ibn Abu Abdülcins who had been buried in front of the Castle have not survived to this day.




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