flight greece

In the northern Aegean Sea, very close to the coasts of Mikra Asia, there is a beautiful Greek island. Chios, the island of mastiha, wine and citrus trees, the island which recalls memories from the past – the ancient years, the Middle Ages and the ottoman occupation –rule the island with the wonderful villages and the hospitable people.

mastiha tree

The ship of the lines takes you to the capital of the island, Chora, as the locals usually call it. A big waterfront fall of shops, coffee shops, restaurants, travel agencies, you can find anything you may ask for, in that waterfront. The most beautiful place to visit is Byzantine Castle, which is also influenced by the Genoese Conquerors who were famous in building Castles. They used their technique, they made it bigger (expanded) and perfect. This way they managed to protect the island from enemy attacks, which were very frequent the years of their domination in the 14th till 16th century.

However, the medieval element does not exist only in Chora. We also find it in the medieval villages in the southern parts of the island. The villages look like castles, as they were build in a certain way in  order to be protected from the pirates who preyed on the seas during the Middle Ages.

mesta village

Mesta is a village in the southwestern edge of Chios, which is the most well preserved among the medieval villages. It’s charity has to do with it’s original architecture. The houses are build one next to the other leaving only two entrance gates. This way they create a protective wall. The streets are narrow covered with arches and exactly on them there are houses. This way the whole village is transformed into a maze, which prevented the pirates to reach in the interior of the village easily. However, today, strolling around the narrow cobbled roads under the halls, the arches and the arcs is charming.

Another medieval village with the same defensive style is Pirgi. In Pirgi there are two or three floored houses roofed with domes. Arches over shadowed roads. Medieval houses with arched openings. Balconies full of dried tomatoes and brown onions. A paradise full of colors and smells. Pirgi is different than the other medieval villages because of it’s “xista”. The facades of the houses are ornaded with designs. We would suggest that here in Pirgi the colors Kiss the houses. Strange Kisses, in circles, rhombus, squares and also birds, flowers and leaves of trees. The tower of the village, build by the Genoese is a characteristic plus necessary part of the village.

Easter’s rockets

Last but not least the castle village of Anavatos, build in an abrupt hill with steep slops, it is characterized as the “Mistras of Chios”. All around, the wild and rugged natural landscape is absolutely harmonized with the stoned structures of the village.

Chios is known all over the world for “mastiha” witch is produced in certain villages named “mastihohoria” in the south coasts of the island, where “schinos” grows, there are about 27 villages. Most of the local people there are occupied with the cultivation and production of “mastiha” They started developing mostly during the period of the domination of Genoese who tried to fortify the “mastic villages” “mastihohoria” for two main reasons: Firstly too protect them from prospective conquerors and secondly in order to have the monopoly of the exploitation of these very important product. During the Ottoman Occupation these villages were in favor of the Sultan who was also interested to take advantage of the favored “mastiha”. Today this product is one of the main financial sources for the island, as the local people continue promoting it, trying to make its beneficial effects known to everybody all over the world.

One of the most beautiful areas is Kampos which is in the northern part of the island. It is a big flat area full of orange and tangerine trees. The Genoese built their mansions here and the same did the local nobles. The characteristic point of the area is the beautiful sternums ornated with empossed statues and hydrants in order to gather water to irrigate the orchards. The old mansions surrounded by colorful flowers are a bridge between our days and the past. Their charming architecture, the arches over the doors and the windows, the elegant balconies supported by the columns and halls create a wonderful atmosphere. The thyreas in theexterior part of the houses show the financial power and the importance of these families among the citizens of the island..

The north part of Chios is different. Small villages perched in high mountains. Abandonded settlements give the impression of a forgotten place.

Bolissos is the most important village in the northwestern Chios. It is extended among the foot of the hill, on the top of which the medieval castle dominates with its six towers.

Finallly, one has to do a pilgrimage in Nea Moni, the most important Byzantine monument of Chios. Build around the 11th century, is famous for its unique mosaics. However, it is connected with a fact from the recent history of the island. In 1822 the Turks in massacres of Chios – the horror of which was illustrated by Delacroix the famous painter – slaughtered local people of Chios, who asked for protection in Moni as well as the monks themselves.

mavravolia_beach

In order to test and relax you have to visit the beautiful beaches of the island. Karfas is one of them, with the golden sand the shallow sea and the “Mavra Volia” which are named so because of the big black buckshots (volia).

A visit to Chios is a unique experience, because one will enjoy its beautiful nature, its history, its tradition and culture, and also the worldly known hospitality of its citizens.

 

Categories: Featured, Holidays

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