image The prefecture of Chios has a total surface of 904 km² and consists of the three islands i.e. Chios, Oinousses and Psara. Chios is one of the biggest islands in the North-East Aegean and the fifth island in size of Greeece in general. It has a coastline of 213 km long. Chios is situated very near the coast of Asia Minor (Turkye), opposite the peninsula of Erythrea from which it is divided by the Strait of Porthmos. The population of Chios adds up to 54.000 inhabitants who live not only in the capital but also in the 64 other villages on the island.

The Capital

In the centre of the East coast, with a view towards Asia Minor, lays the capital of Chios, named Chora by the locals, with over 30.000 inhabitants. It has known many periods of rice and fall, and was for over 400 years in the hands of the Ottomans, after a short Venetian occupation. Both civilizations left their mark on this town, which can be seen in the architecture and lay-out of the city. Chora was, and still is, an important harbor. It also is an important cultural-, educational- and trades-center for the whole of the North Aegean area. The Medieval castle of Chora build in the 10th century is still inhabited today. As a capital-city, it burst of life all year around.

Kampos

To the North of the city, in the neighborhood of the airport, you will find one of the most interesting areas of Chora , the ‘Kambos’ with its beautiful gardens. The huge impressive mansions in this plain were built of local stone, ‘Thymiana’, and have a very special local architectural style. They are largely independent and will remind you of Genoese houses, with beautiful pebbled mosaic-floors in the yards, rich gardens with fruit-trees and flowers, hidden away behind high stonewalls and impressive entrance-doors.

imageMedieval Villages

The Medieval character of the island is without a doubt the most imposing and impressing element of the island. Examples of Medieval architecture are to be found all over the island i.e. complete villages, the most important ones still inhabited, castles, towers and churches, many of which perfectly intact, they all put a stamp on the general outlook of Chios. The most characteristic buildings of this period can be found in the South and central parts of the island, in villages like Mesta, Olympi, Anavatos and Augonima.

Mastic

The South of Chios is covered with a special tree called the ‘Mastic-tree’ from which the local product Mastic is produced. It’s the only part in the world where we find this mastic. This product gave Chios throughout the ages richness and prosperity. Even during the difficult Ottoman era the island had special privileges. Mastic is still used in many products such as soap, crèmes, toothpaste, liquor etc. Mastic-shops are to be found anywhere in Greece.

North Chios

The landscape in the North-western part of the island differs a lot from the rest of Chios. It is here, where we still can find quiet rural life, as if time stood still. The imposing mountain-range of Pelinneon with its peak well over 1250 meter and the many little villages built on its sloops, give the visitor a good impression of how life used to be in these small rural settlements.

Most of the villages are hardly inhabited, for most of the villagers left there homes to find a better future abroad. Although many inhabitants left Volissos in the past, today we can see that the locals are taking a great interest in maintaining the beautiful houses. Most of which have been restored with taste and respect for the local architecture. It is here where we find most of the beautiful and quiet beaches of the island as well as other places of interest, so that even the most demanding traveler will find it an ideal place to stay!