Chios is one of the most beautiful and largest islands of Greece with a rich cultural heritage. Chios is the place where the unique mastic gum is produced. Mastic which is known all over the world for its healing properties as well as its frequent use in recipes, is produced only in the southern part of the island, the so-called mastihohoria.
Chios is situated in the northern side of the Aegean Sea a few kilometers away from the Anatolia coast. The capital of the island is in the center of Chios, known as “chora”.
One of the most distinctive and vibrant villages of the island is Pyrgi. Pyrgi is the largest town in the municipality of Mastihohoria and it is located at the southernmost point of the island, 25km from the city center (chora). It is a very picturesque village that retains its medieval appearance. In the center of the town there is a medieval tower and that is why the town was named Pyrgi (pyrgos means tower in Greek). Apart from the tower Pyrgi stands out from the other villages in Chios because of the distinctive graffito technique used to decorate the exteriors of many of the buildings. It is based on plastering sand being applied to the wall, carefully painted white and then geometric shapes are scraped away. This technique was introduced by the Genovese.
Pyrgi just like many other villages of the island has its own traditions. One of these is “karkalouses”, which is held annually during the carnival. According to this tradition women dress up as men and vice versa and exchange visits having fun.
Another custom is the putting up a huge fire on Great Saturday night outside the Cathedral of the village. They keep piling up wood so that the flames exceed the height of the temple, giving an impressive spectacle at the time of the Resurrection.
Many festivals are held all around the island with traditional music and dances. One of the largest and most vibrant festivals which celebrate the Assumption of Virgin Mary on the 15th of August, takes place in the square of Pyrgi where many locals and visitors enjoy dancing their traditional dances until the next early morning.
Pyrgi with its outstanding natural beauty and the warm hospitality of its villagers, will definitely offer you an unforgettable stay.
The village Volissos (Northwestern Chios)
At the top of the hill you will find the medieval fortress with six well-preserved towers. Further north from Volissos by the sea, is the monastery of Agia Markella (the protector of the island). It is one of the most important monasteries of the entire Aegean.
In Pyrgi a short distance from the main square is a remarkable Byzantine monument, the church of the Holy Apostles, with well-preserved wall paintings.
On the west side of the island lies the castle of Anavatos. The village is no longer habitable. The site is a unique picture of a ghost town in an impressive environment.
One of the most impressive Caves of Greece is the Cave of Olympi located in the southern part of the island, near the village of Olympous.
Mesta is a genuine medieval village designed and built like a maze. The oldest monument of Mesta is the church of Palaios Taxiarchis which was built during the Byzantine period.
At the southward continuation of the town Chios is Kampos where you will find lovely houses with high architecture, pebbled courtyards, wells and citrus orchards.
Nea Moni is located 12km from the town of Chios and is a monument of international significance. Nea Moni is the most monument of the island decorated with marble revetments and mosaics.
The nearest beach to Pyrgi is the historic village of Emborio (5km from Pyrgi). Emborio is known for its stunning beaches Mavra Volia and Foki with jet-black pebbles and crystal clear waters.
For those who prefer sandy beaches you can visit the beach of Komi (3km from Emborio).
Vourlidia and Ag. Dinami have excellent beaches with clear waters.
In the southern part of the island there are beautiful secluded beaches like Avlonia, Apothika and Trachilia.
Beautiful beaches close to the town of Chios is Karfas and St. Fotini. Karfas is a sandy well organized beach with warm shallow waters and St. Fotini a pebbled beach with crystal clear waters.
In the northern part of the island there are many amazing beaches such as Giossona, Nagos and the beach of Limnia where you can enjoy a good meal in one of the many taverns that you will find there.
SUGGESTIONS FOR FOOD AND DRINKS IN CHIOS
In the town of Chios and in the touristic areas such as Emborios, Karfas, Mega Limnionas, Komi and Laggada you will find many restaurants with excellent food.
Fresh fish can be found at Laggada, on the beach Limnia in Volissos, at Lithi and Agios Ioannis Lilika.
In the town of Chios (chora) there is a tavern called “Apomero” with a magnificent view and menu. A few kilometres away in the village Thimiana is the restaurant “Roussiko” and in the area of Kambos there is “Kambos” and “Argentikon” for an exquisite dinner.
Chios also has great nightlife with many cafeterias at the port of Chios, like “Remezzo” and “Sueno” which stay open until the early hours as bars.
There are a few clubs in Chora and in Pyrgi there is club called “After” where every summer fabulous parties take place.