It has small family beach resorts and large secluded beaches. The most beautiful beach on Chios island is Mavra Volia, on the southernmost spot of the island, but there are also nice seaside villages to relax on your holidays.
However, Chios Greece is mostly famous for its Medieval villages. Pyrgi and Olympia have characteristic walls with geometric designs, while Anavatos, Volissos and theTown have large Byzantine castles on the hills above them. A drive around the island will also bring you to interesting monasteries, including the Monastery of Nea Moni, Agios Markos and Agia Markella, the protector of the island. Small islands for a day trip are Psara and Oinousses.
According to ancient Greek mythology, the first King of Chios was Oinopeonas (or Inopion), grandson of Minoas king of Crete, and son of Dionysus and Ariadne, who taught the islanders how to cultivate vines. The myth says that the island owes its name to the daughter of Oinopeonas, Chiona. Also according to the legend, Chios is said to be the birthplace of the famous lyric poet Homer. In fact, there is a rock in Vrontados village, called Daskalopetra, where Homer teached his poetry.
The first traces of inhabitants in the history of Chios date back to the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. During the 7th century BC, Chios, like Samos, excelled in arts and some of the best Greek sculptors of the time came from the School of Sculpture in Chios. During the naval Battle of Salamina, Chios joined the Persians. But during the Peloponnesian war, its inhabitants fought at the side of the Athenians and were under the control of Athens until 356 BC. After that, the island became independent and was not forced to pay the annual tribute to Athens anymore, which made it become prosperous. Chios then became part of the Roman Empire.
At that period, emperor Constantine settled on the island. The Byzantine times followed these years, during which very few information has been saved. After the fall of Byzantium, Chios was under constant attack of Catalan and Turkish pirates. In the 14th century, the Genoese took the island and remained there until 1566, when Chios was recaptured by the Turks. Nevertheless, since the island was exporting mastic in many countries and selling it to the Sultan, its inhabitants had more privileges than in any other part of Greece.
Thanks to the trading, the island of Chios prospered in arts and letters. The School of Chios was founded in the 18th century and many churches and wealthy mansions were built. The population grew and the island had the privilege to be under the rule of the elders islanders of the community.
Massacre of Chios
With the Greek revolution of 1821, the inhabitants of Chios were roused by Lykourgos Logothetis of Samos who led his army to fight a Turkish garrison. When the Sultan heard what happened, he sent his fleet in Chios to punish the inhabitants for participating in the revolution.
On the 30th of March 1822, 7000 Turk soldiers under the command of Kara Ali Pasha disembarked on Chios and slaughtered 25000 of its inhabitants and forced almost twice that number of people into slavery.On the night of June 6th 1822, Konstantinos Kanaris revenged for Chios massacre, by killing the Turkish Admiral Kara Ali Pasha. The massacre of Chios increased the sympathy of the rest of Europe and the growth of Philhellenism.
After the massacre, Victor Hugo wrote the wonderful poem Enfant de Chios and Delacroix painted Le Massacre de Chios, which can be admired in the Louvre Museum. The first refugees started to return to Chios in 1832. On the 22nd of March 1881, a disastrous earthquake destroyed the island, causing 6000 deaths, numerous damages and the destruction of many building in the capital. On the 11th of November 1912, the island of Chios was finally liberated and reunited with the newly built Greek State.
Museums - Archeological
Chios has a long history and its culture began to develop during the neolithic period. Various excavations bear witness to a rich cultural heritage that flourished through many periods. Chios is chracterized by its cosmopolitan atmosphere and the authentic character that remains untouched by time. Its medieval villages are considered places of high interest where history is still alive.
For a comprehensive view in the rich history of Chios you can start from the Byzantine Museum housed in 19th century mosque in the heart of the town. Its extensive collection covers a long period from the Christian times to the 17th century with sculptures and marble tombs from the Jewish cemetery. Equally interesting is the Maritime Museum which illustrates the long nautical history of the island through many forms of art like paintings and photos as well as ship models and tools.
In the traditional village of Pyrgi there is a Folklore Museum that depicts the agricultural life in Chios through various items and photo archive. Those who visit the Monastery of Nea Moni will be surprised to see the small Ecclesiastical Museum which hosts an interesting collection of icons and embroideries made by the nuns.
Emporios Mavros Gialos, Karfas, Vrondados beach, Agia Fotini, Agia Irini, Apothyka, Didima, Elinta, Gerita, Giali, Lampsa, Lefkathia, Limnos, Lithi, Magemena, Managros, Megas Limnionas, Merikounta, Metohi, Papalia, Prastia, Tigani Makria Ammos, Town beach, Trahili, Vroulidia, Agia Markella, Daskalopetra
Religious Monasteries and Churches
The deep religious faith and tradition of Chios marks the coexistence of Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches that are spread over a wider area. The pious atmosphere and the natural beauty of the island attract many visitors.
The monastery of Nea Moni is a symbol of Chios, built in the 11th century at the centre of the island. It is dedicated in the Dormition of the Virgin and is decorated with superb marble and mosaics. For breathtaking views, visit the monastery of Agios Markos which lies on the mountain slopes of Karies village. It was built in 1886 by the monk Parthenios and nearby there the cave of Saint Parthenios, the place where he actually lived.
In Volissos, above Agia Markella beach lies the actual Monastery of Agia Markella, the saint protector of Chios. On July 22nd there is a great festival held and there are cells for the visitors who want to spend the night. In short distance is found the place where the saint martyred. A beautiful trail path connects Nea Moni with the Monastery of Holy Fathers. It was founded in 11th century by three monks of Chios, over a cave.
Outside the village of Neochori you will come across the Monastery of Agios Minas between 1572 and 1595. The monastery is inhabited by 25 nuns who are involved in hagiography. The Monastery of Kourna was founded during the Frankish occupation by the Roman Catholics of Chios. It changed hands and became Orthodox during the Turkish period. It is located outside of Karyes village and it remains uninhabited to this day.