According to the myth islands Lemnos and Imbros were once united (were one island) that belonged to one sovereign. After his death the island passed to the possession of his two children. The first son wanted to take the biggest part of the island. The gods got angry and slit the island into two parts. Lemnos and Imbros created. This myth must have a historical base since very deep in the sea, in Saint Ermolaos gulf there are remnants of houses, temples e.t.c.
According to mythology, Lemnos is the island of Hephaestus, the god of fire and volcanoes. A myth says that he landed on this island when Hera, his mother, threw him from Mount Olympus (where the Gods resided) because she found that he was an ugly baby. Hephaestus broke his leg (or hip) when he landed on the island and stayed lame ever after. The people of the island took care of him and the god taught them his art of ironsmith.
Lemnos was always the intermediate station for those that were coming from Minor Asia to Greece. The first inhabitants came during the 5th millennium b.C. Archaeological excavations have brought in sight many monuments that show the existence of a remarkable civilization. Famous king of Lemnos was Thoantas, and while he was king terrible volcanic explosions happened to the island. After a while Jason and the Argonauts reached the island. Argonauts got married with the women of Lemnos and their children were the Minies.
From 1000 b.C. Pelasgioi came to Lemnos and investiture the first people entitled to a share. These people were from Athens.
The geographical position of the island and the security of its gulfs for the imperial fleet upgraded its military position. After the fall of Byzantium, Lemnos was a prey to many pirate raids. The island passed under the rule of the Genoese in 1453, which brought a great financial and commercial prosperity.
From 1462 to 1479, Lemnos was an object of quarrels between the Venetians and the Turks. Venice was forced to consign it to the Turks when the Ottoman Empire became supreme in the Aegean. After the Greek Revolution of 1821, Lemnos, like other North-Eastern Aegean islands, did not join the newly built Greek State.
Due to the Balkan Wars, the island was only incorporated to the rest of Greece in 1920.
In antiquity, according to legend, the spring of Terra Lemnia was mined at the time when Hephaestus had fallen in Lemnos, after fighting with Zeus. Using Lemnia Terra, Hephestus had healed his injuries. Tradition has it, that point is located between the villages Repanidi, Kotsinas and Varos in Despotis' (Bishop’s) Hill, called Mosychlos in antiquity.
Today there is a small whitewashed chapel of Christ the Saviour.
First Herodotus mentions Lemnos earth, and then many scholars and physicians of antiquity studied, used it and wrote about it. They believed it had haemostatic effect, cure dysentery, relieve stomach ulcers and neutralize the venom of snakes.
The mining ceremony consecrated by priestesses, who came from Hefaisteia. Then it was transported to the city, packed in small circular tablets, like the modern pills, and sealed in the form of the goddess Artemis or her protected animal, the goat.
The extraction and use of Terra Lemnia continues during the Byzantine period and its reputation spread in the Arab world.
During the Renaissance it has been known to Europe and the travelers who visited or wrote about Lemnos, refer to it. In the West it was known as terra lemnia or terra sigillata (sealed earth).
In Christian times the ceremony was combined with the celebration of the Christ the Saviour and was celebrated on August 6th. They called it “Agiochoma” (means holly soil) and the seal had the figure of Christ.
Later on, during the Turkish occupation it was sealed with the crescent. A small amount of extracted clay was given to local potters to manufacture bowls and vases.
The last mining report refers back to August 1916.
Today, unfortunately, it cannot be seen and is not in use. It is the first product in the world, characterized as “Protected Designation of Origin” and certainly the first standardized pharmaceutical in the history of medicine.
Lemnos produces many goods of excellent quality like: cereals, legumes, wine, figs, almonds and honey.
One of the most famous products of Lemnos, since ancient times, are its wines. Nowadays, the famous varieties "Limnio" or "Kalampaki" and "Muscat of Alexandria" are made from exquisite, modern wineries on the island and along with the production of spirits from these special varieties, they also create jobs on the island and an enjoyable gastronomic experience for the visitors.
In Karpasi operates one of the most modern wineries of the island.
Lemnos is famous from the ancient years for the production of livestock, and its amazing cheese products. With an excellent cheese that is produced from fresh goat's milk from free-range called ʼKalathaki from Lemnos', and also the well known, ”melichloro” and “Feta from Lemnos”. The “kalathaki” cheese as a PDO product (Protected Designation of Origin) is produced under strict sanitary standards and acts as a wonderful ambassador of the gastronomy of the island.
The rocky beaches around the island are ideal for underwater fishing.