A rough road in the mountainous province of Plomari, starting from the main road connecting Paleochori with Plomari of Lesvos, very close to the former brings you to a wooded area.

Ruins of houses everywhere, a public fountain and an “aliotic” small church, Ai George of the Louviares. Saint George of the Lepers.

This abandoned and run-down settlement is Louva or Louviochori (Lovochori, Rachi to the locals) – the ‘Spinaloga’ of Lesvos

At this remote point, it is unknown when, but certainly until the middle of the 20th century, the sufferers of Hansen’s disease, leprosy or luva in the local lesbian dialect, whence the name of the settlement.

“Lovochori grew over time with the intensity of the disease and with its decline it almost began to be deserted and ruined” notes Ioannis K. Moutzouris in his text, “The Lovi and the Lovochori Plomariou”.

He considers the number of 2,000 lepers who were reported to be living in Lovochori in 1846 to be excessive, since 17 years later in 1863, 50-60 patients lived in the settlement (ibid.: 9). In 1889, 17 men and 9 women lived in the settlement, while in 1891 the total number was 25 people.


In fact, for the locals, Louva was the ultimate evil. “Go to Luva” they said instead of “go to hell” associating the disease with social stigma and exclusion.

The remnants of the unhappy human presence are scattered, centered on a fountain where the lepers were watered, but also the very old church of Ai Giorgi with the huge pine tree showing the place, from far away.


As strange as it may seem, today almost 80 years after the discovery of the drug that led to the disappearance of the disease, Loubiochori is still treated with hesitation by the locals.

A few days ago, on St. George’s Day, few visitors arrived at the small church.


Even the cemetery of the lepers has nothing to show that it was here or there.

“Don’t let it happen what?” you wonder on the way back, among ruins in Louviohori, which you say everyone wants to erase from the collective memory of the place.

With information from APE-MPE, lesvosnews.net