Chios is located in the North East Aegean Sea. It is known as one of the most likely birthplaces of Homer. The island is
very close to the Asia Minor coast and it is the fifth largest Greek island with a population of 54.000.
Archaeological evidence indicates that the island has been inhabited since 6.000 B.C. The town of Chios
was built by the Ionians a little before 1.000 B.C.
The town of Chios, called “Chora” is the largest town of the
island with a population of 29.000. It is the administrative,
cultural, educational and commercial centre of the island, as
well as its most important port.
The Castle of Chios
The Castle of Chios lies north of the town centre. The castle was constructed in the medieval period with its first construction phase
having started in the 10th century by the Byzantines. The structures surviving to this day are part of later construction and expansion
dated to the time when the Genoese, who maintained commercial concerns, ruled the island during the 14th to the 16th century
In the north of the castle area, there are theTurkish baths with typical vaulted roofs
In antiquity Chios was known as "Ofioussa" (having a lot of snakes) and "Pityoussa" (having a lot of pine trees).
Nowadays, pine trees still cover the mountainsides of our island, providing a unique habitat for many other species
of plants and animals.
Chios is known all over the world
for its mastic trees. These trees is a
main source of income for many
residents of the island. The mastic
trees of Chios provide a resin that
comes out from their bark in the
shape of teardrops. This resin has a
lot of medical applications and is
used for the elaboration of
different products, especially a very
unique chewing gum, as well as
quality spices, alcoholic beverages
and sweets. An interesting detail
about the mastic trees is that they
grow in many parts of the world
but the only place where they
elaborate its resin is in Chios. The
uniqueness of the product is
attributed not only to a deep-
rooted tradition in cultivation, but
also to certain soil and weather
conditions that favour mastic tree’s
The mastic trees of Chios
Of the many species of orchids that grow in Europe, so far have been identified 110 species and subspecies in Chios, including: Ophrys
homeri, Ophrys phrygia, Ophrys omegaifera, Ophrys regis-ferdinandii, Orchis sancta, Orchis anatolica, Orchis anthropophora.
The Wild Tulips of Chios
There are four species of wild tulip on Chios. They flower in March and April. The important fact is that they are self-grown, without the
care of anyone.
Kampos of Chios
The Kampos area has been famous since the 17th century as a citrus producing area. Traditional cultivations have been preserved to this
day. One of the most well known products is the Chios tangerine. The delicate scent of the citrus fruits fills the area of Kampos.
The area of Kampos is also known for its mansions. The Genoese and local aristocracy of Chios started building their mansions in the area
in the 14th century.
Mavra Volia is perhaps the most beautiful beach of Chios. The black pebbles and wild scenery is a
result of volcanic activity of the distant past in the area. Swimming in Mavra Volia is an experience not
to be missed!
Managros is one of the biggest beaches of Chios, with a length of 1,5 kilometers. It is located in the northwest part of the island, near
Anavatos is a Medieval - Byzantine tower-village in the central region of Chios. It is quite impressive as it plunges into
a large granite rock at the top of the cliff. It is a deserted village.
One of the most beautiful villages of the island and at a 35 – kilometer-distance from the town, Mesta is a medieval village, which has
been preserved as a monument. Its elaborate architecture dates back to the Byzantine period. The village is built like a castle.
The houses were built one right next to the other, thereby creating a protective wall surrounding the village.
The medieval settlement of Avgonima surrounded by pine trees
The monastery of Nea Moni
Nea Moni was built in the 11th century (between 1042 – 1056) and was dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. According to
monastic tradition, the Emperor Constantine Monomachos founded the Monastery to repay three Chian monks for predicting that his
banishment to Lesvos was temporary and he would eventually return to the throne. For many centuries it was the most important
religious center on Chios but was repeatedly destroyed in the 19th century. It was plundered by the Turks in 1822 and was severely
damaged by an earthquake in 1881.
The mosaics of the Nea Moni Monastery date back to the 11th century and comprise a portion of the Monastery’s dowry. Today, it is one
of the three remaining collections left in Greece of the mid-Byzantine period and it remains in relatively good condition.
The Monastery of Agia Markella
The Monastery of Agia Markella (St. Markella), patron saint of Chios, is located alongside a beautiful sandy-stone beach in the northern
region of Chios, approximately 8 kilometres from Volissos anf 45 kilometers from the town of Chios. The long seaside is opposite Psara
and it is known for its cold deep waters. At the far end of the beach there is a path that leads to the saint's site of martyrdom. The
Monastery was built in honour of the saint’s martyrdom in 1500 A.D.
The rocket war
The rocket war dates back to the ottoman times and it takes place on Good Saturday’s Eve, before Easter. Groups of youth compete in a
symbolic fire exchange. The participants make their own rockets and fireworks. This is a technique that needs very careful preparation
and is passed down from fathers to sons. The groups start the preparation of the rockets immediately after the Easter celebration in
order to be ready for next year.
Loading the ramps and Firing of the Rockets
The rockets when launched all together create a cloud of
entoxicating smoke, so they wear bandanas to help breathe.
New Year’s Eve Model Ships
Boys and girls from the parishes of the town work in groups in order to make model ships, big and accurate copies of real ships or
warships. They often work over a long time in order to perfect their model. Some of these ships can be quite long, reachingup to 3 or 4
meters or even longer. In New Year’s Eve, every group walks to the town’s central square and presents its model ship to thepassers by
singing carols and "penemata“ (impromptu songs which praise the members of the team).