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Anavatos Village | Chios | The Medieval Climbing Towers of a Deserted Rocky Outcrop

Updated: Mar 6

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George P. Papadellis | SG Head

with some good tips from AI


In the heart of the captivating island of Chios, lies a byzantine deserted village known as Anavatos. Translating to "climbing" in Greek, this historically significant village stands as a testament to the island's rich past, intertwined with periods of Ottoman domination, the Greek War of Independence in 1821, and the tragic events of the Chiot massacre in 1822. Anavatos is not only a remarkable example of ancient architecture but also a reminder of the resilience and spirit of its inhabitants. In this article, we delve into the captivating history of Anavatos, its notable landmarks, and the challenges it has faced over time.


Old House of Anavatos Village  |  Shiny Greece

Old House of Anavatos Village | Photo by: Vanfotis, Van chios anavatos Summer2007 DSCN2053, CC BY-SA 4.0


Glimpse into History

Anavatos' origins are steeped in folklore, with two prevailing narratives surrounding its establishment. According to one account, Anavatos was founded by workers who arrived in Chios for the construction of the New Monastery (Nea Moni). The other theory suggests that the village emerged as a response to the constant threat of pirate raids that plagued the island's western coast. Regardless of its genesis, Anavatos thrived as a fortified settlement during the middle Byzantine era, perched atop the hill with the castle serving as its centerpiece. Tragically, during the Chios massacre, this initial core of the village was destroyed, marking a somber chapter in its history.


Anavatos Chios

View of Anavatos Village | Photo by: iStock.com | cunfek


Expansion and Growth

Under Genoa's reign, Anavatos witnessed a period of expansion towards the east, resulting in the creation of Mesochori. By the late 17th century, the village boasted a population of approximately 150 inhabitants, offering a vibrant community amidst its rocky surroundings. However, the devastating earthquake of 1881 struck a severe blow to Anavatos, leading to the abandonment of its main settlement. The remaining residents sought refuge in the lower part of the village, forever altering the landscape and the village's fortunes.


View from Anavatos Village  |  Shiny Greece

View from Anavatos Village | Photo by: Vgargan, Anavatos, Chios 07, CC BY-SA 4.0


Challenges and Desolation

Over the past few decades, Anavatos has faced numerous challenges, including adverse living conditions and isolation. These factors, coupled with the migration of younger generations to more urban areas in search of better opportunities, have contributed to the gradual desolation of the village. As a poignant testament to this decline, the 2011 census recorded a mere one permanent resident in Anavatos. Nevertheless, this remote village continues to beckon visitors with its haunting beauty and echoes of the past.


Exploring Anavatos

A visit to Anavatos offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the historical and natural wonders of the island of Chios. As you ascend the rocky paths leading to the village, you will be greeted by the imposing medieval castle that stands proudly atop the hill. Its walls, once a stronghold against invaders, now serve as a silent witness to the village's tumultuous history. Additionally, one cannot miss the enchanting church of Taxiarhis, located on one side of Anavatos, exuding an air of tranquility amidst the remnants of a forgotten era.


Closer View to Anavatos Village  |  Shiny Greece

Closer View to Anavatos Village | Photo by: Vgargan, Apopsi Anavatos, Chios 02, CC BY-SA 4.0


A Haunting Beauty

Anavatos Village Chios stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of its people and the captivating allure of a bygone era. Its self-defensive position atop a rocky outcrop, surrounded by a fascinating historical narrative, makes it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike. Despite the challenges it has faced and the desolation that has befallen its streets, Anavatos continues to captivate visitors with its haunting beauty and the rich heritage it preserves. A journey to this remote village promises an unforgettable experience, immersing you in the tales of the past and the natural splendor of Chios.


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Guest
Apr 09
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

Medieval village with a unique resident! It dominates the mountain. The climb takes your breath away. Building renovation works are underway.

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Guest
Apr 05
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

Very interesting place!!! The city is built on top of a hill. You cannot enter, you can move along the street, some of the buildings seem to still be inhabited. Below the entrance is a small tavern with good food.

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