Chios

The Mastic Island

Pyrgi Village  |  Photo by: iStock.com/ nejdetduzen  |  25.11.2017

Chiots, due to the short distance of Chios island, one of the unique places of Greece, from the Ionic Peninsula of Eritrea, have Ionic origins. They are mainly sailors and mastic cultivators (this unique product that constitutes the trademark of the island internationally). The infertile soils and tradition are the main reasons that pushed Chiots to the sea. With their hard-working nature, their intelligence and their numerous sacrifices in the waves, they achieved a large share of global ship-owning. So, sailors brought to the island wealth which is obvious in the beautiful mansions, in the emblematic foundations, and in the nautical schools. The views of the island, which is one of the unique places in Greece, are magical. One of them is the medieval settlement Mesta, which travels visitors to Byzantine years and years under Genouats’ domination. Also Pyrgi, the living monument village that comes from fairy-tales, with the black and white paintings on houses and the colors on balconies, windows, and doors. The abandoned village Anavatos with its tower-houses, which has been called “Mystras of the Aegean”, and the emblematic painting of Delacroix with the slaughter of Chios that changed the geopolitical views of the global forces during the period of the regression of the Greek Nation. Deep blue water in volcanic sceneries, monasteries with imprints of the big slaughter of 1822 and so many other things that can be experienced, guide the visitor to sweet dreams of completeness and memories.

Panagiotis | Shiny Greece

Chios Map

Chios is the fifth largest Greek island, situated in the northern Aegean Sea. It is separated from Turkey by the Chios Strait. Chios is well-known for its exports of mastic gum. Its nickname is "the Mastic Island". Tourist attractions include its medieval villages and the 11th-century monastery of Nea Moni, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island, on an administrative basis, forms a separate municipality within the Chios regional unit, which is part of the North Aegean region. The central town of the island and seat of the municipality is Chios. Locals refer to Chios town as Chora (used in almost all islands, it means the land or country, but usually refers to the capital or a settlement at the highest point of a Greek island). Chora was the site of the Chios massacre, in which thousands of Greeks were massacred by Ottoman soldiers during the Greek War of Independence in 1822. Chios island is kidney shaped, 50 km (31 mi) long from north to south and 29 km (18 mi) at its widest. It covers an area of 842.289 km2. The land is mainly mountainous, with a mountain chain running the length of the island. The two largest of these mountains, Pelineon and Epos, are situated in the north of the island. The center of the island is divided between east and west by a range of smaller peaks, known as Provatas. Local specialities of the island are kordelia, malathropita, mastello, sfougato, mamoulia, masourakia, masticha drink and souma drink.

Anavatos Abandoned Village  |  Photo by: Tash1000, Anavatos B, CC BY-SA 4.0  |  22.10.2019

Chios is divided into five regions. Midway up the east coast lie the main population centers, the Chora of Chios, and the regions of Vrontados and Kambos. Chios Town has a population of 32,400, is built around the island's main harbor and its medieval castle. The current castle, with a perimeter of 1.400 m was mainly constructed during the time of Venetian and Ottoman rule. Remains have been found dating settlements back to 2000 B.C. The town was damaged by an earthquake in 1881, and only partially retains its original character. North of Chios Chora lies the large suburb of Vrontados (population 4,500) - claims to be the birthplace of Homer. There is an archaeological site known traditionally as "Teacher's Rock". In the southern part of the island are the Mastichochoria "Mastic Villages", the seven villages of Mesta, Pyrgi, Olympi, Kalamoti, Vessa, Lithi and Elata, which together have controlled the production of mastic gum in the area since the Roman period. The villages, built between the 14th and 16th centuries, have a carefully designed layout with fortified gates and narrow streets to protect against the frequent raids by pirates. Between Chora and Mastichochoria lie a large number of historic villages including Armolia, Myrmighi and Kalimassia. Along the east coast are the fishing villages of Kataraktis and to the south, Nenita.

About Chios Island

In the center of the island, between the villages of Avgonyma to the west and Karyes to the east, is the 11th century monastery of Nea Moni, the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monastery was built with funds given by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX. The monastery had substantial estates attached, with a powerful community until the massacre of 1822. It was further damaged during the 1881 earthquake. The island's climate is warm and moderate (Temperate, Mediterranean), with modest variation. Average temperatures are from 27 °C (summer) to 11 °C (winter). Chios' international visitors are served by the airport of Chios (JKH).

Best Hotels in Chios Greece

Monolia Maisonettes

Self-catering apartments, featuring elegant decoration in modern color hues.

Book your stay  |  How to get here  |  Visit the hotel's website

Argentikon Luxury Suites

5 stars luxury hotel, all-suites boutique, with unique character, selected among the 100 best villas in the world, a perfect example of medieval, Genoese architecture, awarded for its Tourism, Gastronomy & Hospitality services.

Book your stay and visit the hotel's website  | How to get there

Grecian Castle Hotel

A 4* hotel harmonizing the traditional architecture of Chios with a full range of modern facilities, offering 65 rooms and 4 suites, and the reputable “Pyrgos” wine restaurant.

Book your stay | How to get there | Visit the hotel's website

Mouzaliko Hotel Chios

A family-run guest house which offers bed and breakfast, providing high-quality accommodation.

Book your stay and visit the hotel's website  |   How to get there

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