CHIOS



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Chios - Chios town and the Kampos area - Archaeological Museum

Archaeological Museum

Two blocks in from the south west corner of the harbour, are the buildings of the University of the Aegean which stand behind an attractive garden of palms; next to them is the island’s * Archaeological Museum, between Mouseiou and Michalon Streets, which should not be missed. (Open daily 8.30–3, except Mon.) Both the richness and the idiosyncracy of Chios have been mentioned above in the general context of the island’s character: in the collection of antiquities from the island, these qualities emerge as primary once again in the remarkable variety and unusualness of some of the categories of objects— in particular, the rare and moving grave stelai with fluid, incised designs from the Hellenistic period which are almost unique to Chios. The collection is laid out on three levels in a custom-designed building of 1970, with six principal rooms or zones.

Room I (to right of entrance): exhibits prehistoric finds (Neolithic through to Bronze Age) principally from the cave at Aghio Gala in the northwest of the island and from the excavations at Emporeio in the south. The same categories of object recur—jugs, cups, pyxes—but in a wide variety of forms and designs, occasionally with incised decoration. One fragment of the lid of a receptacle (no. 104) is carved in the form of a dog’s head. With the Mycenaean Age (central displaycase), simple, bold decorative designs of great beauty begin to arrive. The Protogeometric (9th century bc) vases from excavations in the city of Chios show clear influences from Euboea and the Northern Cyclades, confirming the direction of settlement in this crucial period.
   Room II (subdivided): contains the wide variety of objects in stone from historic times, beginning with two striking * torso fragments of korai, of the early 6th century (580–570) bc. What is unusual here are the lightly incised, undulating folds of the chitons they wear, beautifully conceived on the shoulders and back in particular, as well as the position of the hands beneath the falling locks of hair (no. 225): at this early stage a quite distinct and naturally graceful Ionic style is developing. Kore no. 226 once held an applique offering to her bosom. In the case along the wall is a wide selection of votive offerings, ornaments and modelled figurines—beginning with the earliest representational piece to have been found on the island, a Late Neolithic male head from Aghio Gala. One late 7th century bc find from Emporeio is the wellpreserved head of a helmeted warrior (no. 2, right showcase) with remarkably fine painted detail, once the top of an aryballos (a perfume or oil container). In the corner of the room is a display of images of the seated Mothergoddess, Cybele, found in a remarkably wide distribution of sites on the island; it shows the importance of the cult of the divinity (Anatolian in origin) on Chios and helps to make sense of the site of the sanctuary of Cybele at Vrontados, commonly known also as ‘Homer’s Seat’ (see below).
   Behind the central, dividing display-case is the collection of exquisitely * incised limestone grave stelai of the 5th to 3rd centuries bc—a type of stele which is virtually exclusive to Chios, depicting seated figures, dancing girls or birds in flight, sketched with a delicacy sometimes more fluid even than ancient vase-painting. Especially clear are no. 665 (5th century bc) with images of waterfowl and no. 280 (3rd century bc) with a seated lyre-player. The end of the hall exhibits some wellconserved Roman portrait busts, including a rare and sensitive portrait of Sabina (no. 5636), wife of the Emperor Hadrian. Underscoring the importance of Dionysos for a wine-producing island such as Chios is a display of figures and heads of the god from different periods.
   Room III (parallel to, and integral with, the previous gallery): continues the theme of wine-trading, with a collection of Chiot amphorae, displayed so as to show their chronological development: from the heavier, swollenneck designs of the 6th century bc, through the 5th century bc cylindrical-neck design, to the later Hellenistic forms with narrow bodies and long necks, modified for more efficient storage in the holds of boats. There is also an official liquid-measure standard in marble. The rest of the room is devoted to inscriptions— fascinating for what they tell us about the workings of a community, its legislation, voting, and—clearly shown here—the frequent cooperation in judicial matters and in arbitration between one island and another. Most important amongst this collection are two * engraved epistles from Alexander the Great to the Chiots (who had previously sided with Athens against Macedon)—the first (no. 39), inscribed in 332 bc, restoring a democratic regime to the island and ordering the return of political exiles; the second (no. 68) requesting clemency for an acquaintance who was on trial as a pro Persian traitor. The far end of the room exhibits a collection of grave stelai of the more usual type found across the Hellenic world: nearly all are scenes of banquets for the dead, mourning widows or valedictions: a notable exception is no. 10189 (2nd century bc) which depicts a solitary, dignified male figure, standing with his hands crossed before him.
   Room IV (mezzanine): houses principally the museum’s collection of vases, metalwork and jewellery, with the addition of one case exhibiting a 2nd century bc human skull which shows interesting evidence of surgical trepanning. The displays of vases have good didactic material explaining the progressive development of local ceramic work: there is a fine collection of fragments of the so-called, 6th century bc ‘wild-goat style’ (witness the confident depiction of these animals on no. 15, no. 16 & no. 18); a new manganese-red colour is introduced in no. 21 & no. 22. The central show-case has a rich display of bronze and ivory work, and includes a couple of the museum’s most unusual treasures—a carved * ivory horse and rider of the 7th century bc, no larger than a walnut, with beautifully executed hands holding the bridle; and a minuscule (4cm), late 6th century bc, gilded silver figurine of a helmeted warrior (no. 10) from the sanctuary of Apollo at Phanai. The collection of Hellenistic gold fillets, wreaths and decorations, include some pendants of striking intricacy: one (no. 104) is of a female figure riding a panther. The island’s coins—with their characteristic Sphinx (obverse) and amphora (reverse), are represented here mostly in casts: the originals are in museums and collections elsewhere.
   Room V displays a number of remarkable architectural elements which illustrate well the latent tendency towards animism always present in Ionian architecture: the colossal, sculpted, four-toed lion’s paws, from Emporeio, are in fact antae bases, i.e. the bases of flush pilasters against the front wall of the naos in the entrance porch of a temple. They are marginally later (5th century bc) than the fragments of ionic capitals, and sections of friezes and entablatures from the 6th century bc temple of Apollo at Phanai, but they share the same bold design and stylistic vigour.
   Room VI (on the upper floor) is dedicated solely to finds from the neighbouring island of Psara, most of which come from excavations of Mycenaean graves at Archontiki­ on the island’s west coast (see pp. 160–161). There is an impressive quantity of pottery (including graceful, stemmed kylixes, and stirrup-jars with decoration), gold artefacts, bronze swords (which are helpful in dating the burials) and jewellery, all from between the 14th and 12th centuries bc. The gentle, natural colours and subtlety of the gemstone jewellery and necklaces in faience and glass-paste, are particularly striking.
Outside courtyard: the largest exhibit in the open area behind the museum is the reassembled, 2nd century bc Macedonian-style mausoleum—constructed from perfectly cut ashlar, stone blocks of different colours—found in 1980 in the outskirts of Chios town. The delicate crown of oak-leaves, fashioned in beaten gold, on display in Room IV, was part of the grave-goods found in its interior chamber. The courtyard contains more fine architectural fragments and elements—amongst them, wateran exquisitely carved pilaster capital (early 5th century bc), with three interlocking and superimposed scrolls, with palmette and rosette decorations. The design is similar to surviving elements from the Great Altar of Hera on Samos , though the decoration is more intricate, as would be expected in a piece created almost a hundred years later.

 

Chios Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island group
Chios town and the Kampos area. The Archaeological Museum.


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access

Chios Island, Greece.

By air: Domestic flights from Athens, three times daily with Olympic Air and twice daily with Aegean Airlines, serve Chios throughout the year. Five days a week there are Olympic Air connections with Thessaloniki, including a twice weekly local, Eastern Aegean route, from Thessaloniki to Rhodes , via Lemnos, Mytilini and (once a week only) Samos . The airport is 3km from the centre of Chios town.
By boat: The principal route—Piraeus, Chios, Mytilini— is served by Hellenic Seaways, with a daily 12.30 departure from Piraeus, arriving Chios at 7pm, continuing to Mytilini, and returning to Piraeus overnight. NEL Lines run three times weekly along the route from/to Samos to the south, and Mytilini, Lemnos, and Kavala, to the north. Smaller ferry-boats connect Chios with Psará (5 times weekly), and Oinousses (6 times weekly). Crossings to Turkey (Çeşme) run almost daily during the summer season (Easter–mid-October); thereafter much more infrequently.

Chios Travel Guide

beaches

Chios Island, Greece.

 

Lithi Beach

Emboreios Mavros Gialos

Chios Travel Guide

eating

Chios Island, Greece.

Delightful, welcoming and with fresh, imaginative dishes and good bourekakia (lightly filled and fried filo-pastry rolls), is the (recently much enlarged) taverna, Roussikó, in Thymianá (just east of the main church in the village).
In the main town of Chios: both "Byzantinio" and "Elleniki Kouzina", on opposite sides of the crossing of Ralli and Roïdou Streets between the port and the public gardens, are favoured by locals for their clean environment, inexpensive home-cooking and well-prepared, workaday food; no frills and no atmosphere, just simple food.
Iakovou (evenings only), on Aghios Giorgios Street in the Kastro, has more atmosphere and offers a number of Asia Minor dishes.
Around the island: Lefteris at Pandoukiós (just south of Langada on the northeast coast), Tria Adelphia on Lithí Beach (central west Chios) and the taverna, Limani Meston in Liménas (southwest Chios), all offer excellent, fresh fishdishes in pleasant settings by the shore; while Markellos at Pitiós is well-known for meat and vegetable dishes of local cuisine; and Pheragides offers mezes in the delightful setting of a plane-shaded plateia at Kardámyla in northeastern Chios.
The cliffs and rocky coasts of Chios are home to an aromatic samphire ("kritamo") which is a distinctive element of its salads—always worth asking for, if it has not already been included in the mixture. Chios also has a tradition of excellence in oriental pastries; the quality of the baklava and other sweets made by the Amandier Patisserie in Livanou Street (south side of port) is worthy of any Ottoman pastry-chef.

Chios Travel Guide

further reading

Chios Island, Greece.

For social history of the important families of Chios and for the events of 1821/2 the following site contains much valuable information: www. christopherlong.co.uk/pub/ chiosinfo.html

Chios Travel Guide

lodging

Chios Island, Greece.

A number of the nicest places to stay on Chios are in Kampos, to the south of the main town, in the elegant stone villas which are so characteristic of the area. Two, that are close to one another, and run by different members of the same family, are particularly recommended:
-Perivoli (Argenti Street, T. 22710 31513, fax 32042, www.perivolihotel. gr), and -Perleas (Vitiadou Street, T. 22710 32217, fax 32364, www.perleas.gr). Both offer simple accommodation and attentive hospitality, moderately priced, in elegant villas with gardens. Although signposted, neither is easy to find: if you call ahead, you will be piloted, or collected. There is public transport to this area, but a rental vehicle is advised. In the centre of town, at the south end of the port, is the Hotel Kyma in a stone-built mansion looking onto the sea (T. 22710 44500, fax 44600, email: kyma@chi. forthnet.gr); the antiquity of the plumbing and bedroom furniture are more than compensated for by the friendliness and attentive hospitality of the owners and by the charm of the building.
A different experience is offered by Spilia Xenonas at Kardámyla above the northeast coast, 23km from the port (T. 22720 22933, fax 22823, www. spilia-chios.gr). This is a group of small, carefully restored, characteristic, stone cottages at the top of the village, with views towards the sea in the distance: a good homemade breakfast is provided. Wooden signposts guide you up to the cottages on steep stone paths through the village; any car will need to be left some distance below.

Chios Travel Guide

museums

Chios Island, Greece.

Archaeological Museum
Byzantine Museum
Folklore Museum

Chios Travel Guide

practical info

Chios Island, Greece.

821 00/02 & 822 00 Chios: area 841 sq. km; perimeter 213km; resident population 51,060; max. altitude 1,297m. Port Authority: T. 22710 44433. Travel and information: Municipal Tourist Office, T. 22710 44389, www.chiosonline.gr

Chios Travel Guide

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