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EVERYTHING ABOUT CHIOS
Chios is one of the hidden treasures of the Greek Islands. It is home to 53,000 people these days and most well known for its medicinal growing of mastic. The island is full of medieval villages, Byzantine Monasteries, local markets and beautiful beaches. A beautiful island just off the coast of Izmir, Turkey.
THE MEDIEVAL VILLAGES
The Medieval Villages of Chios are a drawcard to the island. There are over 40 of these villages scattered around the island where you can take a step back in time to get a feel of what life used to be dating back to Byzantine times. The villages are some of the best-preserved in the Mediterranean with castles, watchtowers and fortified settlements surrounded by towers. The largest of the villages is Pyrgi where you will find the buildings are decorated in ancient motives over all the building facades. Olympia is another popular of the medieval towns as it also has a cave that you can visit that is also decorated in motives.
NEA MONI MONASTERY
Nea Moni is an 11th Century Byzantine Monastery that is UNESCO listed and the most important Byzantine monuments in all of Greece. There are amazing mosaics and a site enriched in history that is well worth this visit whilst on the island.
Chios is best known for its production of Mastic. Although the Mastic Tree is found all throughout the Mediterranean, Chios is the only place that actually produces the natural resin or mastic. This resin is used for many things including a flavour, for gum, for pastry making, oil for furniture and musical instruments as well as medicinal uses for high blood pressure, bronchitis and diabetes to name a few. To visit one of these plantations and see how they gather the resin and make it into their exportable product you can visit many of the villages including Lithi, Mesta, Olympi, Pygri, Nenita and many more.
There are 27 beaches found on Chios. So you will be spoilt for choice to get to enjoy the beautiful clear waters and gorgeous surroundings. The most popular of the beaches and those with the tourist facilities are Emporios, Mavra Volia and Karfas. But for those who want to find a beach to yourself or off the beaten track – take your pick of the other 24 beaches and as you explore the island get the chance to find your own piece of paradise.
Chios dates back to Neolithic Age 6 – 5,000 B.C. There have also been prehistoric settlements found from archaeological excavations in the villages of Emporios and Fana. By 11th B.C. the Ionians arrived and was occupied by the Persians until 479 B.C. They managed to build what is still known as Chios City now and it was a prosperous city of its time. Byzantine time saw Chios be recognised for its important location and the island was built with many of the medieval villages that are a main attraction to the island in current times.
By 1346 the Genovese took over Chios and were the ones to start to cultivate and trade mastic. They continued to build the fortresses and castles in many villages around the island to continue to build up its reinforcement towns to protect the island from invaders. As the Ottoman Empire was taking over the world, they also got hold of Chios is 1566 and the island thrived under their rule. They built up many important trading relationships and started some very important trading and shipping families. 1822 saw a failed Greek Revolution that destroyed a lot of the island and the island finally comes back into Greek hands in 1912.