Chios


Chios is situated in the Eastern Aegean approximately 10 kilometres off the Turkish coast and about 50 kilometres south of Lesbos. The island has an area of 850 square kilometres. About 52000 people live there. The local capital is Chora or just Chios town. With 30000 people living there it is the biggest settlement on the island.

Chios is rather mountainous with Mount Pelineo being the highest with an altitude of 1300 meters.

Chios knows very little tourism. It is best know for the Mastic trees. These trees grow up to 4 meters and ar native to the entire Mediterranean. For unknown reasons only the Mastic trees in southern Chios produce a very distinct resin that is used in flavoured spirits like Ouzo or the local Mastichato. It's also used for chewing gums.

It is said that Homer was born here. He is one of the most famous ancient Greek poets. His two epic poems Illias and Odyssey are believed to be the oldest examples of western literature. They had a huge impact on the Greek culture. Even 500 years later it was common to recite Homer. Quite a few people knew the text by heart as we learn for example in Plato's Symposium.

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Quite frankly; there is little to see on Chios. The main attraction would be "Neo Moni" a monastery that hosts the finest collection of mosaics in all Greece. The monastery is an official World Heritage Site. Other things to do would be a visit to Pyrgi a little but picturesque village with narrow streets and interesting architecture. The Korai Library in Chios town with its 95.000 volumes does worth a visit and so does the local castle.

A walk through the narrow streets of the old town can be interesting and while you there visit the local museums. Quite interesting is Byzantine museum but also the Archaeological museum.
 


There are a few hotels and guest houses on Chios. Even in smaller villages you should be able to get a decent room. Public transport is available and easy enough. The blue busses are the local ones for Chios town the green ones go over land get you to even the more remote villages. Public transport in Greece never ceases to astonish people.

There are daily boats from Chios to Cesme in Turkey, Lesbos and Piraeus (Athens port). There are hardly any international flights but a daily connection to Athens and Thessaloniki. One way to get there is flying into Lesbos and then get the ferry to Chios.
 

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