Chios means mastic, since it has the global privilege of producing this unique, precious, fragrant product, with its pleasant taste, healing properties and variety of uses. An impressive variety. Mastic is produced only in southern Chios, in its 24 Mastichohoria. Its production requires laborious and time-consuming work. At the beginning of summer, clean the area under the rope. Also clean the trunk and larger branches of the tree. Then you lay white soil under the rope. That's when the embroidery begins, which lasts 5-6 weeks.
The embroidery is carving the trunk of the skin with special tools. Each tree is embroidered 10-12 times, the day after the embroidery the mastic drips over the spread whitewash like a tear and in 2 weeks it has thickened and the first picking is done. Transporting the mastic for processing, usually at the cultivator's house, requires a special method so that the tears of the mastic do not stick together. This procedure is repeated for a second time, where a second and final collection takes place at the beginning of autumn.
Afterwards, each producer sifts the mastic, washes it several times with soap and water and spreads it out to dry. This is followed by the detachment of each foreign substance from one cocoon of mastic. In this phase, each producer gives his production to the factory of the Union of Mastic Producers of chios, where you check for cleaning, quality and its separation into the categories of Pita, Fine, Powder and by-products. The end is either packaged or used for the production of other products
Chios Mastic Museum
The Chios Mastic Museum is located in the Mastichochoria (literally: mastic villages), a group of medieval villages in Southern Chios, the only site in the Mediterranean where the mastic tree, or Pistacia lentiscus var. Chia, is cultivated; called by its generic name of skínos in Greek, this is an endemic variety of pistacia plant from which mastíha (gum mastic) is produced.
The Chios Mastic Museum aims to showcase the production history of the mastic tree’s cultivation and the processing of its resin, which it integrates into the cultural landscape of Chios. Through the prism of UNESCO’s inclusion of traditional mastic cultivation on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2014, emphasis is given to the diachronicity and sustainability of this product of Chios
The Castle of Chios town expands in a 180.000 square metres area and it's walls enclose a residential complex of 650 inhabitants. Settlement in Castle's area is testified at least since the hellenistic times. Excavation finds confirm its continuation during Roman and early Byzantine times. Temples from the middle Byzantine era are testified in sources and written context ( 10th century ) and by excavational findings ( 11th century ).
Nowadays the Castle of Chios is identified as the familiar, according to written sources, Fort which begun to be built in 1328 by the Genoese ruler of Chios Martono Zaccaria.
At the eastern parts of the island, just a few kms south by the city of Chios, extends an overgrown with citrus trees area, known as the valley of Kambos. Rich subterranean water masses, deriving from the neighbouring hills, make Kambos an endless garden ideal for citrus trees cultivation. Kambos area consists of a unique fine aesthetic residential complex, a perfect combination for agriculture activities and residency combined. Kambos is composed by roughly two hundred estates that are surrounded by tall elaborate walls. Due to it's special historic interest, the Ministry of Culture has characterised Kambos as a historic traditional settlement.
Kambos was established both by locals and foreign aristocrats during the Genoese occupation of the 14th century.
The monastery of Nea Moni
The Monastery of Nea Moni is the most important Byzantine monument of Chios Island and amongst the most important Byzantine churches in Greece.
The foundation of the monastery of Nea Moni due to three Chian monks who predicted the ascension of Constantine Monomachou to the throne, when he was still exiled to Lesvos Island and they secured imperial sponsorship for the construction of the monastery, when the prophecy was fulfilled in 1042 unexpectedly. The construction project of the monastery lasted until 1055, date of death of Constantine Monomachou. It is said that Constantine Monomachou apart from the costs of the construction of the monastery, endowed the monastery with land property and other income. The same practice was followed by other emperors, that until the 19th century the Nea Moni was one of the richest and most famous monasteries in the Aegean.
Anavatos village is located 22 km from the center of Chios town. The village is considered to be a monument and its great history over the years is quite interesting not only for its locals but also for its visitors. The astonishing location of the village on a conical rough rock 450 kilometers above the sea makes the access to it difficult. Anavatos village resembles a real fortress due to the large wall which was built around by the locals. You can observe that the architecture of the village is quite impressive due to the houses that were stuck together, built by stone, with wooden roofs, low doors and small convex windows.
During 1822, the locals left their village by the fear of the slaughters. In particular, the women and children were forced to fall from the cliff in order to avoid being captured, and it is told that their bones are still there until today. Nowadays the village still remains abandoned; although few houses are maintained in good condition for example a famous marvelous building of 3 floors, called Triorofo, where the village’s olive press, school and the churches of Taxiarchis and Virgin Mary are hosted.
The cave of Sykia Olympus is located approximately six km south of the homonymous medieval settlement in southwestern Chios at an altitude of 110m. about. It was explored for the first time in 1972 and after the completion of its exploitation work in 2002, it has been open to the public since 2003. Immediately after entering, the visitor can enjoy a panoramic view of the oppressive hall, as well as the rare natural phenomenon of the "pillar of light", a large beam that enters the cave through the natural hole in its roof and moves in a circle on its walls following the course of the sun. He can then browse among the impressive formations of the main hall following the arranged route. Thousands of stalactites and stalagmites of various colors, clusters of columns several meters high, rheoliths and eccentrics (peculiar stalactite clusters whose creation defies the laws of gravity) compose images of unique beauty. The particularly rich stone decoration of the cave ranks it among the important caves of the Greek area and of course one of the main tourist attractions of Chios, as the thousands of visitors attest every year.
Library of Korai - Argenti Museum
The public central historical Library of Chios '' Korais '' is one of the oldest and greatest in Greece.
It's story begins in 1792, when it served as a branch of the Great School of Chios, with the books of Adamantios Korais and other famous greek expatriate scholars at it's core. During the Chios's massacre by the Ottomans in 1822, the Library was destroyed, but Korais dispatched once again books for it's revival. After his death in 1883 according to his will, a significant part of his books and manuscripts arrived once again in Chios.
After the great earthquake of 1881, the Library was relocated at it's today premises. In 1948, it begun, with initiative taken by F. Argenti, the construction of it's second floor, while important expansion and modernization projects occured during the years 1975-1978, in order for the laographical collection of F. Argenti to be hosted.
During the passage of times the library has gathered priceless book collections, manuscripts, magazines, newspapers, paintings, coins, maps, artifacts and heirlooms gifted by great spiritual personalities.
Priceless trasure of the Library is considered the donation of the Great Napoleon, in honour of Adamantios Korais ,of the “Déscription de l’ Egypte” ,consisted by fourteen illustrated volumes issued 1809-1822.
The Reverend Neofitos Koumanos and his son, Reverend Minas, built the Monastery between 1572 and 1595 under the Patriarch Jeremiah II. The Monastery was built on the top of a hill, just outside the village of Nehori. It was intended to be an abbey for monks, however, in 1932, it was converted into a Monastery and is currently home to 25 nuns that occupy their time with religious painting, crafts and sewing ecclesiastical garments. The Monastery has become famous and is well known worldwide. It is directly linked with Chios’ recent history and more specifically with the Massacre of Chios in 1822 when the Turks slaughtered and burned 3,000 Chians who had flocked to the Monastery from surrounding villages to be saved. Today, the atrocities of the Massacre are still evident in the blood stained marble floor of the church. The Mausoleum, located in the courtyard of the Monastery, displays the bones of many victims of the Massacre.
- Nea Moni
- Virgin Sikelia
- Giustiniani Palace
- Mavra Volia
- Megas Limnionas
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