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Chios island is located very close to Asia Minor and it is separated with a narrow sea canal from the coasts of Turkey. It is a very beautiful island that is still quite untouched by tourism despite its various beauties such as its wonderful beaches and its superb medieval villages.

Low tourism is due to the fact that Chios was economically self-sufficient for many years because of its shipping industry and the production of gum from its unique mastic trees.

The tranquillity and authenticity of Chios, along with its varied and verdant landscape, its fine villages and its idyllic beaches make this island an excellent holiday destination. The most famous products of Chios are the mastic and the wild tulips that grow on the island every spring.

A notable person from the island was Erasistratus of Chios (310 BC- 250 BC). He was a physician and studied the functions of the human heart in a purely scientific way, through performing dissections on criminals. He founded a medical school in Alexandria of Egypt and is believed to be the first to measure heart palpitations.

Chios today has a modern town with a rich culture. The Homerion Cultural Centre, founded by the Municipality of Chios, helps in promoting arts to the young residents of the island.

The deep religious faith and tradition of Chios mark the coexistence of Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches that are spread over a wider area. The pious atmosphere and the natural beauty of the island attract many visitors.

The monastery of Nea Moni is a symbol of Chios, built in the 11th century at the center of the island. It is dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin and is decorated with superb marble and mosaics. For breathtaking views, visit the monastery of Agios Markos which lies on the mountain slopes of Karies village. It was built in 1886 by the monk Parthenios and nearby there the cave of Saint Parthenios, the place where he actually lived.

In Volissos, above Agia Markella beach lies the actual Monastery of Agia Markella, the saint protector of Chios. On July 22nd there is a great festival held and there are cells for the visitors who want to spend the night. In a short distance is found the place where the saint martyred.

A beautiful trail path connects Nea Moni with the Monastery of Holy Fathers. It was founded in 11th century by three monks of Chios, over a cave.

Outside the village of Neochori you will come across the Monastery of Agios Minas built between 1572 and 1595. The monastery is inhabited by 25 nuns who are involved in hagiography. The Monastery of Kourna was founded during the Frankish occupation by the Roman Catholics of Chios. It changed hands and became Orthodox during the Turkish period. It is located outside of Karyes village and it remains uninhabited to this day.

Chios island is worldwide famous for its architectural gems scattered in its main town and the surrounded villages. It is one of the most picturesque islands in Eastern Aegean with a rich history that is strongly associated with the unique product of mastic. On top of Chios Town lies the Byzantine castle of the island and ruins from the old settlement, while visitors will have the chance to see splendid neoclassical buildings and elegant mansions with the characteristic earth colors.

Beautiful Genovese villas, marble fountains, verdant forests and a plethora of Byzantine churches, the most important being the monastery of Nea Moni which is part of the World Cultural Heritage, constitute fine examples of the island's architectural brilliance.

One meets a different yet equally interesting style at the medieval villages of Chios, also known as the mastic villages, with the narrow streets and the dense structure, the arches, and the small towers. Such Medieval villages are very typical of the architecture of Chios. Imposing castles built to protect the locals from the pirates' invasions and well-preserved villas in the villages of Pyrgi and Mesta compose this unique scenery that is highly praised by all visitors. Chios Greece is the island of the original beauty and medieval atmosphere.

Visitors can enjoy their stay in many of the traditional hotels that have respected the traditional architecture.

The fertile island of Chios is famous for the abundance of local products, which are used in all local recipes that guests can relish every good tavern of the island. Chios is worldwide famous for the mastic product but also for its wild tulips. The mastic trees are situated on the southern part of the island. The most famous drink of Chios is called soumada and is made from the sycamore trees (figs) and almonds. It is a very strong drink. Fresh fish and seafood are another specialty of the island and are cooked in various traditional ways, such as fried with onions or wine.

Other local recipes are the tasty titbits, the local hortokeftedes (herb balls), delicious onion stew and various pies. Local spoon sweets are a tradition in Chios, made with mastic, eggplant, pistachio, cherry, almonds and rose. Chios also produces rose-water and flower water. Fresh fruits and excellent olive and olive oil are fine products of Chios. The village of Anavatos is specialized in fresh honey and healing herbs. Ceramics, embroideries, handmaid cloth and woven multicolored fabrics with traditional designs are also famous products.

According to ancient Greek mythology, the first King of Chios was Oinopeonas (or Inopion), grandson of Minos King of Crete, and son of Dionysus and Ariadne, who taught the islanders how to cultivate vines. The myth says that the island owes its name to the daughter of Oinopeonas, Chiona. Also according to the legend, Chios is said to be the birthplace of the famous lyric poet Homer. In fact, there is a rock in Vrontados village, called Daskalopetra, where Homer taught his poetry.

The first traces of inhabitants in the history of Chios date back to the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. During the 7th century BC, Chios, like Samos, excelled in arts and some of the best Greek sculptors of the time came from the School of Sculpture in Chios. During the naval Battle of Salamina, Chios joined the Persians. But during the Peloponnesian war, its inhabitants fought at the side of the Athenians and were under the control of Athens until 356 BC. After that, the island became independent and was not forced to pay the annual tribute to Athens anymore, which made it become prosperous. Chios then became part of the Roman Empire.

A notable person from the island was Erasistratus of Cheos (310 BC- 250 BC). He was a physician and studied the functions of the human heart in a purely scientific way, through performing dissections on criminals. He founded a medical school in Alexandria of Egypt and is believed to be the first to measure heart palpitations.

Byzantine period

At that period, emperor Constantine settled on the island. The Byzantine times followed these years, during which very few information has been saved. After the fall of Byzantium, Chios was under constant attack of Catalan and Turkish pirates. In the 14th century, the Genoese took the island and remained there until 1566, when Chios was recaptured by the Turks. Nevertheless, since the island was exporting mastic in many countries and selling it to the Sultan, its inhabitants had more privileges than in any other part of Greece.

Thanks to the trading, the island of Chios prospered in arts and letters. The School of Chios was founded in the 18th century and many churches and wealthy mansions were built. The population grew and the island had the privilege to be under the rule of the elder islanders of the community.

Massacre of Chios

With the Greek revolution of 1821, the inhabitants of Chios were roused by Lykourgos Logothetis of Samos who led his army to fight a Turkish garrison. When the Sultan heard what happened, he sent his fleet in Chios to punish the inhabitants for participating in the revolution.

On the 30th of March 1822, 7000 Turk soldiers under the command of Kara Ali Pasha disembarked on Chios and slaughtered 25000 of its inhabitants and forced almost twice that number of people into slavery. On the night of June 6th, 1822, Konstantinos Kanaris revenged for Chios massacre, by killing the Turkish Admiral Kara Ali Pasha. The massacre of Chios increased the sympathy of the rest of Europe and the growth of Philhellenism.

After the massacre, Victor Hugo wrote the wonderful poem Enfant de Chios and Delacroix painted Le Massacre de Chios, which can be admired in the Louvre Museum. The first refugees started to return to Chios in 1832. On the 22nd of March 1881, a disastrous earthquake destroyed the island, causing 6000 deaths, numerous damages and the destruction of many building in the capital. On the 11th of November 1912, the island of Chios was finally liberated and reunited with the newly built Greek State.

Chios has a long history and its culture began to develop during the Neolithic period. Various excavations bear witness to a rich cultural heritage that flourished through many periods. Chios is characterized by its cosmopolitan atmosphere and the authentic character that remains untouched by time. Its medieval villages are considered places of high interest where history is still alive.

For a comprehensive view of the rich history of Chios, you can start from the Byzantine Museum housed in a 19th-century mosque in the heart of the town. Its extensive collection covers a long period from the Christian times to the 17th century with sculptures and marble tombs from the Jewish cemetery. Equally interesting is the Maritime Museum which illustrates the long nautical history of the island through many forms of art like paintings and photos as well as ship models and tools.

In the traditional village of Pyrgi there is a Folklore Museum that depicts the agricultural life in Chios through various items and photo archive. Those who visit the Monastery of Nea Moni will be surprised to see the small Ecclesiastical Museum which hosts an interesting collection of icons and embroideries made by the nuns.

Ferry Companies

blog Aegean Flying Dolphins
Aegean Flying Dolphins is a Greek, high-speed ferry operator based in Piraeus, offering daily services to the island of Aegina, and regular crossings from the port of Volos, in the Thessaly region, to the islands of Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos all year round.
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blog Aegean Speed Lines
Aegean Speed Lines offers ferry services between the port of Piraeus, just outside the centre of Athens, and the Cyclades Islands of Greece, in the Aegean Sea.
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blog Alko Ferries
Speed, economy and safety! ALKO FERRIES is a newly established Shipping Company (2018). In the midst of the current difficult economic reality, they are serving our islands, with their primary concern being the transportation of passengers, with consistency, comfort and safety.
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blog Anek Ferries
Two of the Adriatic’s best known ferry companies, ANEK LINES and SUPERFAST FERRIES have formed a joint venture on the ferry services between Italy and Greece and from the Greek mainland to Crete.
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blog Anes Ferries
ANES Ferries is a Greek ferry company offering connections from the ports of Volos, Piraeus, Mantoudi and Glyfa on the mainland to the popular holiday islands of the Sporades and Saronic groups.
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blog A Ships Management
European Seaways is based in Athens and was founded in 1990. Since then the Company has created several routes between Greece and Italy.
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blog Dodekanisos Seaways
As their name suggests, Dodekanisos Seaways operates numerous ferry crossings around the Dodecanese islands of Greece.
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blog Fast Ferries
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blog Goutos Lines
A dynamic, innovative, whilst traditional company that combines its founders’ 50-year experience in the field of coastal shipping, with an amiable, efficient and dedicated workface.
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blog Grimaldi Lines
Grimaldi Lines operates numerous ferry services in the biggest ferry markets, linking you with Spain, Tunisia, Morocco, Malta, Greece, Sardinia and Sicily.
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blog Minoan Lines
Minoan Lines is a Greek company and one of the largest passenger ferry operators in Europe, linking domestic and international ports in comfort and style.
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blog Sea Jets
Seajets is a Greek company operating ferry crossings from Piraeus, within the Athens urban area, and Rafina to Crete and the Cyclades Islands.
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blog Sea Speed Ferries
Sea Speed Ferries is a Greek ferry operator launched in 2018, connecting Athens - via the port of Piraeus - with Sifnos, Milos, Santorini, Anafi and the volcanic island of Thirasia.
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blog Sky Marine Ferries
Sky Marine, formerly known as Dodecanese Flying Dolphins, links the Turkish cities of Fethiye and Bodrum with the Greek islands of Rhodes and Kos in the Dodecanese archipelago.
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blog Zante Ferries
Zante Ferries, formerly known as Cyclades Ferries, operates frequent crossings from the Greek cities of Killini and Piraeus to the Cyclades and Ionian Islands, the most popular archipelagos in Greece.
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