CHIOS



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Chios - Chios town and the Kampos area - North of the Kastro

North of the Kastro

Engravings and pictures of the city from the 16th to 18th centuries (in the Korai―s Library, see below) show the coast to the north of the city lined with windmills, a few of which remain today along the coast road. Nearly two kilometres north of the city on the road to Vrontados is a row of four restored mills on the edge of the sea: by turning left (west), two blocks inland from this point, you find the church of Aghia Myrope and Aghios Isidoros in a small square of the same name. Underneath the graceless concrete church are the substantial remains of the Early Christian basilica of the island’s patron saint, St Isidore—a Roman legionary from Alexandria who was martyred in Chios in 251 ad, in the reign of Decius: the presence of his relics here must have made this the most important Early Christian site on the island—until 1125, that is, when his (headless) remains were stolen by the Venetians and later put in a marble sarcophagus in a chapel in St Mark’s. The quantity of column fragments and spolia in fine Proconnesian marble outside, originally from pagan buildings, are testimony to the five successive Christian buildings that stood on this same site: the massive foundation blocks—rearranged from the crepidoma of an ancient temple—which delineate the form of the apse of the earliest basilica, are visible to the east. The treasure of the site is the large area of well-preserved, 5th–6th century * mosaic floor in the interior. (The key for the church is kept at no. 38, on the north side of the square, and hangs on the back side of the letter box.) The abstract designs—knots, ‘mill-sails’, leaves and geometric shapes—are particularly fine and executed in only five colours of stone by someone who was clearly a master of the art. In view of the predominating ‘windmill sail’ motif in the field of the floor, it is interesting to note that there is a dedicatory inscription (now covered by the wooden floor) of ‘Arkadeios, son of Phokaios, sailmaker’. The crypt to the north side would have contained the tombs of the patronal saints.
   The ancient ‘Portasanta’ marble-quarries can also be visited in the area to the north of the town. (Starting from the public gardens of Plateia Vounaki/Plastira, take the left diagonal branch after 100m—signed ‘Theatro Latomeiou’—off the main road north to Vrontados; follow this for 2.2km; as the road descends, a ramp leads up left to the church of the Panaghia Latomiissa and to Aghios Nektarios; at the top of the hill, well above the church, are the main quarries.) Given the widely varying qualities of this particular limestone, there are small quarrying assays all over the summit of the hill, easily recognisable by the curved, running striations left by the ancient cutting tools. The main quarry, in the form of a theatre-like declivity, is just below the summit. It was this stone—which varies from a mottled pink and white to a blue-grey with pink veins—that was probably used for constructing the walls of the ancient city. The marble takes its Renaissance name ‘Portasanta’ from the fact that it was the stone used for the frame of the Porta Santa, or ‘Holy Door’, of St Peter’s in Rome.

 

Chios Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island group
 Chios town and the Kampos area. North of the Kastro.


Random information you might what to know about Chios Island
Portasanta marble-quarries
Juliette May Fraser

 

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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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