Lipsi Objects and tools of obsidian from Milos found on Lipsi (and now in the island's Nikephoreion Ecclesiastical Museum) bear witness to a Neolithic presence in the entire archipelago. A coincidental similarity between the name ‘Lipsi' and that of the nymph who ensnared Odysseus in her grotto, has led some to see Lipsi as Homer's Ogygia, home of Calypso. Lipsi is small, with few resources, and it is not surprising that it features little in ancient historical texts: Strabo passes over it in silence; Pliny mentions it cursorily. Archaeological remains show, however, that it had a small fortified acropolis, and inscriptions speak of the sanctuary of Apollo Lepsios in Hellenistic times—a period in which all these islands were part of the state of Miletus on the Asia Minor coast. The subsequent history of the archipelago is obscure until the watershed of 1088, when the Blessed Christódoulos obtained imperial sanction to found the monastery of St John the Divine on Patmos: Lipsi became the monastery's possession from the time of its founding until 1654, after which it has continued to maintain buildings and land on the island to this day. The long-standing link is perhaps responsible for the extraordinary number of churches, hermitages and chapels dotted all over the island.
The well-kept and pleasant chora of Lipsi is clustered around a small hill at the back of a wide sweep of harbour comprising two roughly equal bays. On the north side of the square is the curious Nikephoreion Ecclesiastical Museum (open weekdays in the summer, mostly between 9.30–1, 4–8; 10–2 at weekends. If closed at these times, ask in the town hall (Demarcheion) opposite). The collection is an interesting and mixed wunderkammer of artefacts—of which the beautifully carved marble *Ionic corner acroterion of an altar, produced by a 5th century BC Milesian workshop, is perhaps the prize. Amongst the other antiquities on show are: Hellenistic grave objects and stelai, amphorae, coins (ancient and modern); a large piece from a Byzantine carved templon; and dedications found on the island's acropolis, including an important 2nd century BC inscription relating to the territory of the island, stating that the decree should be ‘set up in the sanctuary of Apollo Lepsios'. There are relics, stones, dusts and rocks collected or sent from many places: the Holy Land, Asia Minor, Russia, Australia, even the Berlin Wall. Amongst the treasures on paper are two letters (of August 1824) from Admiral Miaoulis, the hero of the Greek War of Independence, and an especially beautiful, 19th century *hand-illustrated book of botany by Dionysios Pyrros.
...as the road climbs further uphill, a path doubles back to the right after 70m, leading up to the summit of what was the acropolis of Ancient Lepsia. Traces of fortification walls in Hellenistic, isodomic construction are visible, especially at the south east corner of the area, where the base of a tower or bastion can be clearly seen: the later rubble walls nearby have also incorporated large ancient blocks in places. There are good all-round views from the top. A quantity of fallen masonry, some collapsed dwellings and a density of potsherds on the ground, not only on the summit but all down the eastern slope help to give an idea of the extent of the settlement here.
Info: McGilchrist's Greek Islands
(From McGilchrist’s Greek Islands, © Nigel McGilchrist 2010, excerpted with his gracious permission. Click for the books)