According to the legend, when the Greeks left Avlida to occupy Troy, Agamemnon first went to Lesvos to capture it, because the island was an ally of Troy. When his fleet arrived at Nisiopi, thinking that it had reached Mithymna (today’s Molyvos), he ordered silence so that the soldiers would not be noticed. They disembarked at night and only at dawn did they realise their mistake. and hence the name ‘the Island of Silence’ remained. They did manage to take Lesvos before they went on to Troy, despite their mistake.
Nisiopi is the largest islet of Lesvos and is located opposite Sigri. It has an elongated shape, like a ship, with a length of 2.57 km. Maximum width is 500 m and minimum 100 m. Its northern end shelters the bay of Sigri, creating a large natural harbour where ships can anchor when crossing the Aegean to the Bosphorus. In the words of Strabo: “This is the only port where sailors moor when sailing from Andros to Tenedos.”Its soil is volcanic and like the rest of the area is covered by low prickly scrub (Phyrgana). A few tamarisks were planted in the 1970s. In the past it was rented as pasture, and fertile enough for the lighthouse keepers to grow vegetables. Until a few years ago there was a large population of wild rabbits. Disease, however, greatly reduced their population.
Nisiopi is part of the UNESCO Petrified Forest site and hundreds of fossilized tree trunks, standing or lying in striking colours, have been found almost all over the island and in the sea surrounding it. The Museum runs a glass bottomed boat from Sigri harbour during the summer months. This trip is booked at the Museum itself and you need good shoes, hat and water as you will walk around the site.
Also on the island there is the church of St. George, and ruins of a basilica