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 Chios Property & Houses For Sale - Real Estate In Greece
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FEATURED PROPERTIES:

Ikaria - Armenistis
New Maisonettes

Price: €209,000 -  125 m2
Bedrooms: 3  Baths: 2









CHIOS

Quick Facts: Chios
Pronunciation hee-oHs
Alternate Spellings Hios, Xios
Transportation Air, ferry, hydrofoil
Main Attractions Chios Town, Nea Moni, mastic villages
Food Many excellent choices
Accommodations Many excellent choices

Chios Characteristics

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandschios hios n.e. aegean the greek islands Chios, population 50,000, lies 27 nautical miles south of Lesvos and 146 nautical miles from Piraeus. It is less than 5 miles from Turkey and played an important part in the Greek War For Independence (1822), when the Turks slaughtered 25,000 rebellious islanders.

Chios has a land mass of 842 sq. km and a coast line of 213km. It has the smaller nearby islands of Oinouses, Psara, AntiPsara and Pasas within its civic control. Chios is thought to be the birth place of Homer and Christopher Columbus. It is most densely populated in its SE sections and has an airport immediately south of Chios Town.

Island Features

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandschios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsCelebrated for its shipowners, gum mastic and friendliness, Chios is a semi-mountainous island, with its highest peak of Pelinaious, at 1300 meters. It has several verdant valleys and pine forests. It is rocky and precipitous in the north and flatter in the south and east with sandy unspoiled beaches. As a larger island, it has many villages mostly concentrated in the south.

Its capital and main port is Chios Town and its other major villages are Thimania, Nentia, Marmaro, and Pirgi. There are many smaller hamlets including Kardamila and Kambos, to the south, is particularly green and beautiful. The western and northern regions have steep rocky cliffs facing the sea. There is a large Greek Army contingent on Chios.

Its architecture is unique and varied, and includes the 11th Century Byzatine Nea Moni with its wonderful mosaics.

Chios Island Specialites

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsChios is famous for its ship owners (think Onassis), beautiful countryside and the fact that it is the only place in the world where Masticha (gum mastic) is produced. Masticha, is a bitter sweet resin used in the production of tooth paste, liqueur, chewing gum, varnishes, color TV sets, cosmetic creams and floor waxes. If you have ever chewed gum, especially the more natural kind, you've probably tasted a part of Chios Island. Masticha comes from the Lentisk tree which is bushy and refuses to yield masticha when it is transplanted anywhere in the world even on the island! In English the word masticate means to chew... go figure!

Other island specialties are kopanitsi, a wonderful blue cheese, and the brown, wrinkled olive chourmades which means dates, (the eating kind). The island also produces good barrel wine.

Chios Town

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsChios Town (or Chora), like so many island towns in Greece was rebuilt after an earthquake. The Nazis, during their WWII withdrawal, destroyed much of it. When you arrive by ferry, it doesn't look like a typical Greek Island capital. There are "tall" (5 stories) ugly concrete buildings with American pool halls, high rise offices, apartment blocks and fast-food joints. There are many sailors and all that they imply. Move past the waterfront area as quickly as you can!

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsThe streets behind the waterfront are much nicer and more authentic. Further back into the town itself, which is sister city to Genoa, Italy, you'll find more traditional charm.

The Byzantine Fortress contains most of Old Chios and is to the right of the harbor. Built upon the ruins of the Macedonian Castle, it was destroyed by the Persian Mithridates. The southwestern entrance, Porta Maggiora, is the most interesting and best preserved entrance to the kastro. Most of what survives from the Turkish occupation is within the fortress. There's a ruined mosque, a Turkish cemetery, and a very small prison. The Kastro Justinian Museum contains detached frescoes, carvings and early Christian mosaics.

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsThe town central square Plastira or Platea Vournakiou is a tree lined expanse with cafes and pastry shops. The Statue of Bishop Plato Fragiadis stand to one side. Within the city gardens, just behind, is the statue of Kanaris, Hero of the Revolution.

A Mosque is within the square and marked with the Turga of the Sutlan (swirling thumbprint) and is a mark of the islands' one-time special status. The Mosque houses the Byzantine Museum (hours: 10-1, Sun 10-3, closed Mon) with a collection of Art and religious icons. The Homerium, on the square's south, serves as the Art Exhibition Hall and community center.

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsWithin the town the early Christian Basilica of St. Isidore and the Cathedral are open to the public. The Korais Library, one of the finest in Greece, has a collection of rare manuscripts and books. On its second floor is the Folklore Museum and collection of Phillpos Argentis. (hours: 8-2, closed Sun). Among the portraits of the Argentis family are copies of the Massacre at Chios by Delacroix.

Chios Town has an Archeological Museum at 5 Michalon St. which contains finds from all over the island, some bearing the sphinx, the ancient Chios symbol. The Maritime Museum will please anyone interested in shipping.

Around the Island

Chios Beaches

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandschios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsChios is fairly non-developed and doesn't receive a lot of tourism. The beaches in the North are smooth and flat and ideal for invasion according to Greek Army friends of mine who have had to guard them during their mandatory army service. One of them told me,  "Limia and Agh Markella just opposite Chios Town are both non-touristic and Nagos and Giossonas in the NE of the islands have very nice unstructured beaches."

Karfas beach to the south is the nearest to Chios Town and reachable by blue bus. The soft sand here is being covered up by hotels and other trappings of tourism. See the map in the map section below for many more beaches.

South of Chios Town: The Kambos and Karfas

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsDue south of town is the fertile plain called the Campos (or Kambos). Many remnants of Chios' Genovese past are still to be seen in the form of plantations, villas, tall stone wall enclosed gardens, and the tell-tale stripes of Genoese nobility. Well-to-do Genovese overlords lived here side by side with their Greek serfs from the 14th Century onwards, cultivating Mastick and Mulberry trees. The latter for the silk producing worms, which also added to the islands prestige. Nowadays, a few of the mansions have been preserved and their water wheels (manganos) still turn with the flowing of the streams. The Argentis Estates and that of the Kazanova Family are particularly beautiful.

Mastodon bones were found at Thymiana, outside the Campos walls. Thymiana was the source for Campos' golden building stone. There's a woman's cooperative there that produces rugs, towels, and woven goods.

Toward the village of Vivili is the octagonal domed church Panagia Krina, which contains fine Cretan frescoes.

Southwest of Chios Town: The Mastikochoria (Mastik growing villages)

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsThere are about 20 villages dating from the Middle Ages where Mastick was grown and these are collectively referred to as the Mastikochoria. The Turks spared these in 1822 and are of Genovese design purposely planned to confuse would-be invaders. The first village is Armolia, topped by its Byzantine castle Kastro tis Oreas (1440).

Thriving Kalamoti is the next village and boasts cobbled streets and tall stone houses. Kalamoti has a pretty Byzantine church, Ag. Parskevi. It isn't far from the 12th Century church Panagia Sikelia. Sandy Komi is the nearest beach.

Pirgi (or Pyrgi) is the largest village of the region and well worth visiting as it contains many architectural details of the period particularly the xista sgraffito style of decoration. In Xista, the walls are covered with mortar containing black sand, then coated with white plaster which is scraped off to create geometric, floral or animal designs.

Wander through the remaining villages in the Mastikochoria to see the old mastic-exporting port at Emborio, the impressive tower at Olympi and the fortress at well-preserved mastic village Mesta. There are villages, tavernas, and beaches throughout this region of the island.

Inland from Chios Town

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsThe trip to New Monastery or Nea Moni takes one through some of the nicest territory on the island. Built in 1039 AD, partially destroyed in the earthquake of 1822, it contains some of the nicest examples of Byzantine art in existence. Also displayed are the bones of some of the 5000 who sought sanctuary here during the massacre. There's a special chapel for the bones. Axe wounds are visible on many skulls, including those of children.

The blue buses only go as far as Karyes, a 7km walk from Nea Moni, so if walking is a problem take a taxi to see this monastery. Modest dress is required. The church has a sumptuous double narthex with mosaics of 28 saints, including St Anne. There are many pilasters, niches, and richly colored mosaics. Of artistic merit are the Anastasis, Christ Washing the Disciples' Feet, Betrayal in the Garden, the mosaic of the Virgin, the dome and the Byzantine clock.

The Nea Moni is listed as a world heritage site.

The closest settlement to Nea Moni is Avgonyma. It's a beautiful and well restored village with a medieval tower.

North of Chios Town: Langada, Kardamila and Volissos

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsThe north of the island is less developed and many of its villages almost deserted in winter. Vrontados is one exception. Just 5 km from Chios Town, it's home to many of the island's wealthiest. Homer and Christopher Columbus are both said to have sat upon its Teacher's Stone (or  Daskalopetra), a rock throne overlooking the sea. It has a small Folklore Museum, the 19th Century Monastery of Panagia Myrtidiotissa and the International Society for the Study of Homer.

Volissos was once the primary market town for the 20 smaller villages in northern Chios. It's located on a fortified hill.

Langada, Kardamila, and Marmaros are other unspoilt Northern Chios villages worth visiting. The popular beach, Nagos Beach is north of Marmaros. Pitios is the birthplace of Homer, his "house" and olive grove are still there.

Even in the burnt, almost lunar, emptiness of the northernmost reaches of the island there are fortresses, towers, beaches, caves and other interesting things to explore.

Drinking and Dining

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsAs mentioned earlier, waterfront Chios suffered from earthquake damage and was rebuilt without regard for tradition.

Much the same can be said for the  plethora of restaurants limani side. Avoiding the more blatant and garish eateries, by choosing to eat where the Greeks themselves eat, will reward you commensurately in your search for traditional Greek Food.

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandschios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsQuay side in the north quarter of the port are two good Ouzeries or liqueur - tsipouro bars serving appetizers or mezedes. Chios is famous for its masticha after dinner liqueur(s), which a make a surprisingly good gift!! You can see different varieties for sale above these locally produced barrels of wine in the photo.

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsSmack in the center of the Chios Town is the Taverna Dolphins and spot on while waiting for your boat. To the initiated, the Turkish influence may be felt easily, as it is fundamental to traditional Greek cuisine.

For sweets and snacks, the ubiquitous No Name reappears towards the south of the breakwater specializing in dairy-products: yogurts with honey, rice puddings, fried battered Loukoumades drenched with syrup, boxed sweets and more.

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsA 10 minute walk from the quay, and Chios' oldest restaurant, is Hotzas (Stefanou Tsouri 74). It features locally produced barrel wine and is well worth the walk.

Just by the Public Gardens on Democracy St. is another good taverna. Past the ugly hotels to the quay's south is the Nox or nautical club with delicious unpretentious Greek Dishes!

History

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandschios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsKnown as Pityousa and Makre in ancient times, the island has been inhabited since pre-history. Ionian colonists settled here in the 8th Century BC and 200 years later its culture had reached a high state. The Persian Wars caused it to be captured. Later it joined the Athenian League until it passed to Phillip of Macedon and Alexander the Great. After Alexander, his generals had control. The Athenians enjoyed a long period of control over the island. Traditon is that Homer was born here in the 9th or 8th Century BC. Eventually the Romans took possession. During the Byzantine period it was the victim of pirate attacks.

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandschios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsThe Latin Emperors and the Venetians fought over Chios. In 1344, it passed to the Genoese, under whom it flourished due to its monopoly in the production of Gum Mastic.

In 1566 the Turks captured the island and granted it special privileges which held until the Revolution in 1822 when the inhabitants were massacred en mass. In two weeks, almost 30,000 people were massacred. Another 45,000 were taken into slavery. Delacroix painted a famous canvas of the event, now in the Louvre. As if that wasn't enough destruction, Chios suffered a major earthquake in 1881 that killed nearly 4,000 people. Chios was liberated in 1911 and joined the Greek State.

The art of soldering metal originated here around 490. Chios was a famous source of sculpture. Some of the most famous Chiot sculptures are the four bronze horses that are now on the front of St Mark's in Venice. But not all its accomplisments are good. Chios was the first Greek state to engage in slave trading.

Hints

Be on the look out for tourist traps on the waterfront. Ask locals for Authentica Estiatoria or authentic restaurants. If you're trying to avoid tourists, then avoid the small coastal stretch south of Chios Town and you'll be all set for a pleasant stay.

Maps

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islands

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islands

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islands

The Complete Details

Helpful Information
Transportation Facts
  • BY AIR
  • From Athens, there are 3 to 5 flights a day.
  • Twice a week from Lesvos and Thessaloniki.
  • BY FERRY
  • One a day from Piraeus.
  • Lesvos daily
  • Three times a week to Oinouses and Psara
  • one per day to Samos
  • 2 per day to Cesme in Turkey, plus a port tax.
    You need a visa too! 100 Euro for US citizens.
  • Other ports served with less frequency include:
    Thessaloniki, Kavala, Patmos and Leros.
  • On the island thre is bus, taxi, moped rental and motorbike rental.
Island Resources
  • Tel. code: 2271/2
  • Chios Port Authority: Tel. 44434
  • Postal Code: 82100
  • Municipal Tourist Bureau/Tel:44-389
  • Ionian Bank:16 Kanari, 24hr ATM, M-Sat till 1
  • OTE: 12 Kanari St.
  • Hospital: 24hrs, 2 km North of Town/Tel:44-306
  • Post Office: Omirou St./Tel: 44-350
  • Pharmacies: about 20, at least 1 always open
  • Olympic Airways: Waterfront/Tel: 23-998
  • KTEL Buses: Off main Square/Tel: 27-507
  • Chios Airport/Tel: 44261/2
  • Chios Korais Library/Tel: 0271-44-246
  • Chios Port Authority/Tel: 44-434
  • Archeological Museum/Tel: 2271-44-239
  • Kardamyla Port Authority/Tel:2272-23-577
  • Byzantine Museum/Tel: 2271-26-866
  • Chios Ambulance/Tel: 166
  • Folklore Museum/Tel:2271-44-246
  • Chios Police Emergency/Tel: 100
  • Chios Tourist Police/ Tel: 2271-44-427
  • Police/Tel: 44-426
  • Kardamyla Tourist Police/Tel: 2272-22222
 

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