CHIOS



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Chios - The NW of the Island - Vessa, Aghios Giorgios Sikousis & the road back to Chora

Vessa, Aghios Giorgios Sikousis & the road back to Chora

Other watchtowers in less good state of preservation can be seen from the road beyond Limenas as it follows the indented coast. Thirteen kilometres beyond Mesta, at the top of a limestone ravine, dotted with stone chapels and hidden from view from the sea, is the village of Elata; after crossing a rocky plateau, the road descends sharply to * Vessa (17km from Mesta), in many ways the most attractive and unchanged of the Mastic Villages. The centre of the village is reached at the end of an avenue of eucalyptus trees.
   The settlement, hidden from view until the last moment, straddles the fertile floor of a shallow valley between two limestone ridges. The stone houses along its compact and logical grid of narrow streets, have many of the elements typical of the 14th century Genoese ‘masterplan’ for the villages of the area: narrow stone relieving arches above windows and doors; protruding machicolations and turrets; balconies supported on small arches; upper floors which cross the streets creating covered passageways; storage areas on the lower levels; towers, gates and fortifications. Concrete has hardly intruded into the stone and mortar buildings at any point. Many of the fine structures around the attractive plateia, though mediaeval in origin, bear the dates of their reconstruction or renovation—typically the 1820s and 1830s.
   Vessa is 18km from Chios town by the remaining (northern) sector of the southern loop road. Seven kilometres east, after crossing the watershed amidst pines and limestone outcrops, the port and the straits between Chios and Turkey come dramatically into view at the village of Aghios Giorgios Sikousis (‘rich in figs’), which is built along a ridge of the mountain, lined with the remains of windmills. Although this is not one of the canonical Mastic Villages, it is a mediaeval settlement whose plan can be seen at the north end of the ridge, around and to the south of the patronal church. Vaulted passageways, gates, and even a substantial part of the original mediaeval fortress tower still stand, unselfconsciously woven together with 19th century buildings. The main church of St George was, like the earlier Panaghia Krina in the valley below, a 12th century building strongly influenced by the catholicon of Nea Moni: it was completely rebuilt in the late 18th century, and preserves a memory of its former self in the brick drum and cupola. Above the main west door, a fine decorative slab of green, Thessalian marble has been preserved from the earlier church; while in front a large area of 19th century chochlakia pavement extends to the west.
   Like Aghios Giorgios Sikousis, the tiny village of Ziphias, 3km further east towards Chora, was also a walled and gated mediaeval village on a smaller scale: remains of its fortifications are still visible. The south door of the main church of Aghia Paraskevi­ conserves the elaborately carved door-posts and lintel block of an earlier 18th century predecessor.
   One last, fine example of the decorative brick-work typical of the early churches of mediaeval Chios can be seen near the next village to the east, Chalkei­o (6km from Chora), above and to the left (north) of the eastern extremity of the habitation. The elaborate window-surrounds and decorative blind niches at the east end of the church of Aghios Ioannis are part of the original, 14th century construction. In the 19th century the surrounding monastery buildings were lost and the steeply pitched roof was rebuilt. Many ruined brick kilns are visible in the area between here and Chora, and it must have been the predecessors of these that supplied the material for Nea Moni and for the many mediaeval churches on the island that copied its design.

 

Chios Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island group
The NW of the Island, Vessa, Aghios Giorgios Sikousis & the road back to Chora.


Random information you might what to know about Chios Island
The Anavatos village
The Olimpi cave and Ancient Phanai

 

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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