The precise location of the old town of Chios is not exactly known. Historians say it was on the same location as the modern town of Chios. The town is located on the center east part of the island facing the city of Izmir on the coast of Asia Minor. The modern town of Chios contains amongst many other the Castle, Korais library, archaeological museum and the Byzantine museum.
The center of the town is made of the central park and square. Here remains can be found of the Turkish rule such as the former Turkish steam bath and water fountain. From here the main street of Chios can be taken the "aplotaria".
Photos from Chios town
"The painted village" it is called because the tradition of decoration the houses with black and white geometrical figures. These are called "ksista". The origin of the tradition is unknown. Some say it originated in the Byzantine period of Chios, other say that the Genoese brought this "graffiti". Whatever the origin is, it gives the town of Pyrgi a great atmosphere.
In the "ksista" there are three different styles. The first style is one of simple geometric rectangles of different sizes to cover the entire surface. The second style has a greater variety of figures such as simple circles and triangles. The third style has more room for creative patterns for example flowers. There are still artists on Chios today that are specialized in making the traditional decoration. Although the drawings seem simple in form they need a lot of experience and knowledge.
As Pyrgi is in mastic area of the island it had strategic importance to the Genoese when they exploited the mastic in the island.
The house on the out side border of the village were build side by side without any space between them. Also there were no doors or windows on the outer side. To enter the city there were two main gates at the north and south. This created a fortress to protect the village and inhabitants from dangers. Walking through the streets of Pyrgi one can see hanging tomatoes which are cultivated in a special way. By given virtually no water to the tomatoes they stay small and hard outside, inside the tomatoes become then juicy and full of flavor.
Photos from Pyrgi:
Mesta has preserved many of it unique buildings dating from 12th century. Also Mesta was designed and built like a fortress, withstanding pirate raids through it's history. When Mesta is entered through it's small entrance you will find yourself in a labyrinth of small streets and alleys. At the main square there is the main church the Tachiarchion. At the main square you could taste "Souma" a strong alcoholic drink only made in this area.
Photos from Mesta:
"The cave village" the unique style of the houses make them look like little caves and makes the village "invisible" from a great distance. Even today new houses that are build must be this style in order for the village to maintain is identity.
The view from Avgonima towards the west side of the island is very worthwhile seeing during sunset.
Photos from Avgonima:
Anavotos is build on top of a mountain in the central part of Chios. Anavatos is only reachable from the south. Anavatos means "inaccessible" and reveals the purpose of the position of this town. Even the road towards Anavatos was unfindable by people who are not familiar with it. This natural protection had its climax during the Turkish seize. For the Turks could not find to road up, the inhabitants were saved. Finally the seize came to an end when an old lady betrayed the ware bouts of the road for same water and food.
The people of Anavatos cultivated olive, pistachios and vines in the neighboring area. Today few people live in Anavatos and raise bees and sell their honey.
Photos from Anavatos:
Volissos is located appr. 40 kilometres north from Chios town. Volissos is one of the oldest villages in the north-western region of the island and is the capital town of this district. In Volissos remains of castles from both the Byzantine period and Genoese period can be found. They were built here because of its location at the hill site and yet close to the sea it was the perfect place to watch over the Aegean sea and protect the island for possible invaders. These castles can still be visited and are constructed in the typical Byzantine style.
In the historic times it is said that Homer was a school teacher at Volissos. The heydays of Volissos started after the middle ages when many high rank military officers chose to live there. In this time the area was filled with vineyards and produced some of the best wine of the island.
Today the town has changed little from the old days. With its two main churches and castles it is very worthwhile visiting. Special days are the 6th (feast of our saviour) and 15th (feast of Virgin Mary) of august when the churches honour their saint.
Photos from Volissos: