Chios is a popular summer resort among the Greeks, but it does not have
too many foreign tourists. As a consequence, you get a taste of real Greece
here, and if you decide to explore the island on your own, you'll find some
amazing little villages and beaches that seem totally untouched.
The people on Chios live off tourism to a certain extent, but it is not
their major source of income. One of the island's most important resources
is mastic, from which you make chewing gum for example, and others live off
fishing, farming or working on ships.
Chios is the traditional seafarer's island ,
especially captains, a famous song the of the Greek
composer George Zambetas "to naftaki" is saying, "take
to your ship an engineer from Mytilene and a captain
from Chios".! When the Greek shipping had 100% Greek
crews, a large part of those were mainly islanders and
many of them were from the island of Chios. In the small
island of Oinousses near to Chios is one of the most
famous Captain schools of Greece.
There are several citations about Chios people, like
the one that says wherever you find Chios men, they
always go in pairs. This derives from true events during
the time of the Ottoman rule when the turks were forcing
the Greeks to get them on their shoulder when they met,
but the Chios men they used the trick to go always
together and when they saw a Turk the one of them was
taking the other in his shoulder so the Turks could not
force them to this humiliation.
History of Chios: According to some,
this is where Homer
was born and lived sometime around the 8th century BC. Of course, there are
many more islands that claim the same, and since we don't even know if he
was an actual person, the speculating is a bit in vain.
The name of the island may come from the Greek word for snow, (chioni),
since the island's patron god Poseidon was born under snowfall.
During ancient years the island was quite wealthy because of its mastic and
wine, and this was also the first place in Greece where they had slavery.
Chios fought alongside Athens against the Persians in the 5th century BC,
and was later to be ruled by Macedonians, Romans, Venetians and Turks.
It was during the Turkish rule the island suffered one of the worst
massacres in Greece. Because the island had been forced to revolt, the Turks
punished it by setting an example: killing 30 000 and enslaving the rest.
This brutal destruction of the island touched many European personalities of
the literature and art such as Victor Hugo, Eugene Delacroix,
who painted the famous painting of the massacre of Chios that is now in the
Louvre museum in Paris.
The island took part in the war of independence that begun in 1821, and it
was to become a part of Greece in 1912.
What to See There is a stone on
the island called Homer's stone (Petra Omirou), where the poet sat and worked
according to those that believe he was from here.
Agia Markella is a monastery open to visitors, and is located outside the
village Volissos. The saint is celebrated on July 22nd.
Nea Moni is another monastery, and perhaps the most visited of the two. It dates
back to the 11th century.
Note: if you want to visit the monasteries, make sure you are dressed properly:
long skirt and covered shoulders for women, long trousers for men.
The so called Mastikochoria are in the area where the mastic tree grows. It has
a special kind of sap that is used in making chewing gum, toothpaste and local
sweets. Here there is also a 15th century castle, some old churches and the
ruins of an ancient temple to Athena.
What to Do
: On Chios you can enjoy various watersports. To really appreciate the
island, you should try to explore the island a bit, since it has some
really nice places not to be missed.
The most popular beach is probably Karfas, but there are
also well developed beaches around Chios town. For more
peace and quiet, you can go to the beach Kato Fana, for
example, but it is also a good idea to try to find your
own place by renting a vehicle and drive around.
Nighttlife:Most bars and discos
are in Chios town and Karfas. The nightlife is quite well developed, and
you can enjoy all sorts of music and styles.
Food There are many nice places in Chios
town as well as in the villages. A special kind of blue cheese is made on
the island called "kopanisti" and then there is of course various sweets
made out of mastic.
Shopping:You'll find various
souvenirs of the island, but it is recommended that you
take some mastic with you home. You can also buy
ceramics and local wine.
Getting Around There are
buses and taxis on the island, as well as several car rentals. It is a
very good idea to rent a vehicle here since the island is very
interesting and worth exploring.
Getting There:Most people
choose to fly to Athens and then to take a flight to Chios, or take the
ferries to Chios. The island also has boat connections with islands like
Lesbos, Kos and Rhodes, as well as with Thessaloniki on the mainland.
|| Phone numbers*
| Size: 850 km2
||International code: 0030
|Population: about 50000
||Local code: 22710
|Cash machine ATM: Yes
||Police: 44423, 44428
|Highest Mountain: Marathovouno
|Internet cafes : yes
||Bus company: 22079, 27507
||Telephone company (OTE):
|Price rate: Average
||Tourist Police: 44427
*The info displayed may be inaccurate. If changes have been made, please let us know.