The principal city of Lesbos, an island in the Aegean Sea off the W coast of Asia Minor. While en route to Jerusalem in the spring of 56 C.E., the apostle Paul sailed to Mitylene from Assos, a seaport on the mainland of Asia Minor about twenty-eight miles (45 kilometers) to the N-NW. (Acts 20:14) The fact that no mention is made of Paul’s going ashore may imply that the ship merely anchored at Mitylene, perhaps because the needed N winds had abated. On the following day the ship continued S-SW toward Chios.—Acts 20:15.
It is believed that Mitylene originally occupied a small island off the eastern coast of Lesbos. But as the city grew it may have been linked with Lesbos by a causeway and expanded along the coast. This would have created a harbor on the N side and also one on the S side of the causeway. The city was famed as a seat of literary learning and for the architectural beauty of its buildings.