Anavatos Village | Chios | The Medieval Climbing Towers of a Deserted Rocky Outcrop
Updated: Oct 23
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.