A visit in maritime tradition
Beautiful, historic, with great cultural and maritime tradition, Chios is one of the largest Greek islands. It is located in the Northeastern Aegean Sea and has an area of 842 sq km, a length of 51 km and a width of 29 km. The channel, which separates it from the coast of Asia Minor, has a width of 7 km. The highest mountains are situated in the north; the mountain Pelenaeon with its peak Prophet Elias at 1,297 m, and the mountain Oros at 1,186 m. The largest plain is Kambos, west and south of the town of Chios, the capital in the middle of the eastern coast.
The coastline has a length of 213 km. Most coasts are low and sandy, mainly in the east and southeast side. A large bay is formed on the west coast. Near the north coast there are two clusters of islands; the one to the west around the island of Psara and the other to the east around the island of Inousses. Near the coasts there are other islets.
Chios has many attractions, great monasteries, traditional villages and beautiful beaches, offering many and varied vacation options. Life center and port, the city of Chios, or Chora, is in the same position with the same name from the ancient times, keeping the castle and other monuments of its long history. One of the nicest areas, in the south of the island, is the Mastichochoria (mastic villages), fortified settlements, where the famous mastic of Chios is traditionally produced. Most famous are the villages Pyrgi and Mesta.
The island has been inhabited since the Neolithic era. According to tradition, the first settler was Oinopion, grandson of Minos, who taught viticulture to the residents. In the 9th century BC, Ionians from Attica founded the city of Chios, which in the 7th century developed into a naval power. It became an important Ionian center and a great school of sculpture. In 499 BC, it took part in the Ionian revolt against the Persians. The Persians failed to conquer it, but destroyed it in 493. During the Persian wars, men of Chios fought in the battle of Plataea, and ships in the naval battle of Mycale.
In 479, it became a member of the Athenian League. During the Peloponnesian war, was initially an ally of the Athenians, and after of the Spartans. In 395, was again an ally of the Athenians, in 355 became independent and in 334 was under a Macedonian garrison. In 146, it was conquered by the Romans. During the Byzantine era, in the 11th century, the castle was built. In the next century, the Venetians tried unsuccessfully to conquer it. In 1261, the Genoese settled a trade station and in 1307 occupied the island. They were expelled in 1329, but returned in 1346 and stayed for two centuries.
Genoa kept the dominion and gave the management to a commercial company, which organized effectively the administration, commerce and production, particularly of mastic, and Chios experienced a period of prosperity and cultural development. Then, the Mastichochoria were created to protect the mastic cultivation. In 1566 Chios was conquered by the Turks, who gave privileges. Thus, growth continued, and education was promoted. During the 18th century, the island experienced a new period of prosperity. The School of Chios was founded, churches and mansions were built and the population increased.
During the Greek Revolution, the people of Chios revolted in March 1822. The revolt was suppressed, but was accompanied by terrible Turkish reprisals that remained in history as the “Massacre of Chios”. From the fugitives who survived, many came back in 1832 and the island was reborn with the development of shipping. It was liberated during the First Balkan War in 1912.