Four km southwest of Platanos is Lakki, the main port of Leros. It is secure and safe and is the largest natural harbour in the Mediterranean. It has modern port facilities and two units for servicing yachts. It looks like a huge lake, with an open space of only 400 meters towards the sea. This natural characteristic was the reason why it was called Porto Lago (port - lake) by the Italians and was chosen as a naval base.
Lakki has a very different colour from the rest of the island yet it is both unusual and extremely impressive Imposing buildings stranded across the beach, are built in a modern and simple, so-called International architectural style. Monumental buildings, wide streets, rows of tree and parks, all designed and developed by the Italians during the inter-war period of 1934.
According to the specialists, the designers followed a mixture of classic, neo-futuristic and rationalistic architecture, which reflected the colonial philosophy of a “dominant nation” during the inter-war period in Italy. The town was probably designed by the architect Rodolfo Petracco, and both he and another architect, Armando Bernabiti, appear to have designed the most important buildings. Lakki is one of the three unique residential estates built according to the International Style. The others are Saubadia in Italy and Weissenhof near Stuttgart.
In the centre of the town is the market with the characteristic Clock Tower and circular wall surrounded by columns. The public buildings which stand out even today are the Customs’ Building which today is home to the Police Station., the Hospital, the Elementary School (1934-36), the building of the Naval Administration (1929), the building which housed the 10th Infantry Regiment and was called the “Caserna di Regina” or the Royal Barracks, the Hotel Roma in the market that was later re-named Hotel Leros, as well as the Catholic church of St Nicolas, which today operates as an Orthodox church. The Lerians have preserved these historical buildings as best they can, and continue to attract all the island’s visitors. But, signs of erosion on some of these buildings are evident.
At Lakki, just as in Partheni, the Greek military dictatorship from 1967 to 1974 created prison camps for political refugees and prisoners in an abandoned section of the Italian barracks, which had been converted into and served as the Royal Technical Schools until 1960 as well as the Leros State Rehabilitative Institution.
Also, the church of Agios Thelogos at Lakki holds significant, historical interest as being one of the finest churches in the Dodecanese with wonderful collection 11th century icons. Other churches are those of Agios Spyridon, Agios Georgios and Agios Zacharias just to mention but a few of Leros’s one hundred churches are all fine examples of church architecture. The Monument honouring the War Dead or the Monument to the Unknown Soldier from the Destroyer Vasilissa Olga located near the port is of interest, as is the “Tunnel” War Museum at Merikia recently restored and exhibiting exhibition all kinds of objects from the War on Leros.
Today, Lakki hosts a reasonably modern market, hotels units, restaurants and nightclubs.
Actually, Lakki does not function or operate as a community of only 2000 inhabitants but in reality it would appear to function similar to a much larger community. Lakki is the most organized settlement in Leros with a foreign flare as it was built according to European city planning standards from the beginning of the previous century.. Its architectural style is completely different from the traditional Aegean styled developments found in other parts of Leros. Lakki makes up the second most important residential community of the island.
There is an extremely wide, coastal road which is appropriate for serving the operational requirements of events like parades and massive, citizen assemblies to commercial or administrative operations, entertainment and port authorities’ activities
That is where all the island’s main roads meet, with equally comfortable roads leading to the beaches. Some other roads lead to the other settlement throughout the island and are a vital part of the island’s main road network. Apart from those roads, there is another semi-circular shaped road that goes across the eastern, central and southern regions and intersects all the other streets forming the massive Roussos Square towards the north and the Square of Agios Nikolas to the south
Pedestrians can easily walk about on these roads without being in any kind of danger. Moreover, in Lakki there are large squares where citizens can gather to take part in educational, recreational, cultural and social events. The vast green areas of the town are in complete harmony with the buildings and architectural developments. Indicatively, at the beach, the old palm trees compliment the buildings and the essential morphology for Leros’s urban environment.