Island of Lipsoi

Island of Lipsoi

Leipsi or Leipso or Leipsai followed the course of history of the other Dodecanese Islands. It was inhabited by Kares in the 14th century B.C., followed by the Dorians in 1200 B.C. and later, by Ions who probably came from Militos in Asia Minor, a colony of Attika. Pots and potsherds were found from the Mycenean (1600-1100 B.C.) and the Geometric periods (1100-800 B.C.).  The marble Ionian capital which was found in the area of Saint John and dates from the 4th century B.C., the oil lamps of the first Hellenistic period (3rd century B.C.) and the tombs and marble inscribed columns confirm the continuously developing habitation, whose center was the fortified tower of the Castle, which dominates the whole area.
Archaeological findings are built into the wall of churches and homes. Remains of houses exist even from pre-Christian times. The foundations of a big temple have been found at the Church of the Virgin Mary of Kousselio. It seems that an ancient temple lay at the same spot. We do not have any historical data until 730 A.D., when the islands of Lipsi, which are now part of the Byzantine Empire, acquired strategic importance. But the islands were devastated by the conflicts between the Byzantines and the Arabs especially, the invasions of the latter.
In the 11th century (1088), this island together with the island of Patmos, was transferred to Ossios Christodoulos by the golden bull of Alexios Komninos the First. The island remained in the possession of the Monastery of Patmos for 556 years, during which time it exploited its land for farming and grazing. During this period, many monasteries and hermitages were founded, such as the Kimissi at Romani in the West (1500), Kato Panagia, in the West (Church of the Annunciation, 1770), Panagia of Haros (1600). In 1522, the island yielded to the Turks who limited themselves to collecting taxes, making predatory raids, grabbing animals and killing monks but avoided inhabitation.
The populated area one can see today was founded in 1669 by a person from Crete named Lios (Elias) when Crete passed from the Venetian Occupation to the Turkish one. During this period, many people abandoned their island and were spread throughout the Dodecanese and other islands. Lios used a cave above the Lendou area for his first home and later on, built his house, the first one on the hill, where the post office is today. During the Greek Revolution of 1821, Lipsi played an important part in the War of Independence offering shelter to the rebels and helping them get prepared for War. They also helped Theophilos Pankostas from the island of Patmos, Patriarch of Alexandria and many captains from the islands of Hydra, Spetses and Psara. Two letters of great historical significance have been found: they were written by Andreas Miaoulis in Leipsi on August 21st and 23rd, 1824, full of enthusiasm and rage against the enemy, thus motivating and encouraging the Admiral of Psara who was in Patmos with his fleet. Miaoulis left Leipsi and many Greeks left other locations united against the Turks for the big naval battle of Gerontas, at the coast of Asia Minor, where the Turkish and Egyptian Fleets were forced to retreat on August 29, 1824.
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