The five villages that make up this beautiful region are arranged like an amphitheatre facing the idyllic Bay and olive groves. The sixth village, Perama, is the harbor for the other five. It is located on a lush plain with many flower and vegetable gardens and running waters.
Historically Yera was known by the name of Iera (Sacred). In Roman times there was a coastal city on this spot, which was probably engulfed in the seismic activity during the 1st century BC.
Besides Papados, its seat, the Municipality of Yera is made up of the villages of Palaiokipos, Mesagros, Skopelos, Plakados, and Perama. The region saw substantial economic development in the final years of the Ottoman occupation and in the period between the two World Wars. This is evidenced by the many factories (olive oil presses, soap factories, tanneries) and company offices that traded in olive oil and other local products. Yera businesses maintained branches in Istanbul, Europe and Egypt. Other evidence of this economic prosperity can be seen in the mansions in the villages. One of these, the Bravas Mansion, today’s City Hall, was the home of the mother of Nobel laureate Odysseus Elytis.
The Bay area is a magnificent monument to nature and to the entire Mediterranean. It is the heart and soul of Yera and is intrinsic to the lives of its inhabitants. The mouth of the Bay resembles a fiord and presents an enchanting sight of silvery olive trees reaching to the water’s edge and little islets standing like sentries at the mouth of the channel. It is scalloped with beaches of infinite beauty, and tiny coves line the inside of the Bay as well as its outer Aegean shore. The most beautiful and developed of the beaches is Tarti, which has crystal clear turquoise water and is located at the foot of a verdant hill. Thousands of tourists flock here every summer to enjoy, among other things, the abundant fresh fish served in the quaint tavernas. The beach-side service is not to be missed! Equally enchanting are the quiet bays of Tsilia, Ligonari, Tsafi, Fara and Yialiotissa, which are a boater’s paradise.
The harbor and commercial center of the region, Perama connects Yera to Mytilene by a ferry that terminates at Kountouroudia. Perama was once home to the largest tannery in the Balkans, which closed some twenty years ago. There are other industrial buildings built in the architectural style of the period as well as Byzantine monuments.
The other villages of Yera
Papados has superb mansions testifying to the acme the village saw in the early 20th century.
Noteworthy sights in Mesagros are the mosque with its peculiar minaret and the bakery with murals by the folk painter Theophilos. Irini, the local cultural society, holds many events at Platanaki, the coffeehouse owned by Mrs. Efstratia. In Skopleos, make a stop in the square with its enormous plane trees and large public fountain, and enter the little cave under the church of Agia Magdalini. The most important sight in Palaiokipos is the church of Agios Ermolaos, a triple-aisled basilica built in 1795.
Visitors who enjoy hiking can choose to wander the along the many olive-lined trails. The most interesting is the one from Skopelos towards Mt. Karionas.