CHIOS



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Chios - The NW of the Island - Volissos

Volissos

Thucydides (VIII. 24) refers to Boliskos’, which must be the ancient city on this site: although little is to be seen today of an ancient precursor, it would be unusual if such a site— with its natural harbour, an acropolis hill, a fertile plain for cultivation, a good supply of water, and its proximity to the island of Psyra (Psara)—had not attracted settlement in Antiquity. The town was the home of the Homeridai, a clan that claimed descent from Homer, whose name had always been associated with the island. The acropolis hill is now occupied by a fine Genoese castle, the harbour, Limnia (1.5km from the town), still functions, and the watercourses have, until recently, fed a series of watermills of varying age, in the stretch between Volissos and Managros Bay. (The mills are visitable by taking a pleasant route by foot, signed ‘Managros’, from below the eastern side of Volissos; this is one of the richest areas on the island for the display of wildflowers in the spring). What distinguishes Volissos from many other Chiot villages is the variety of styles of architecture: in a short distance there are simple neoclassical residences, Ottoman-style houses with overhanging wooden balconies, and mediaeval stone houses; the latter predominate increasingly as one climbs up towards the kastro. The castle was a key element in the late 14th century fortification of the island undertaken by the Genoese, and, though ruined, has been little modified through time. The circuit of walls with six round, irregularly placed, corner bastions, encloses churches, cisterns and other buildings in a large, trapezoid area. The fortress tower, or ‘keep’, in the southwest corner has survived in relatively good condition. The tradition that the castle was built by Belisarius in the 6th century is almost certainly legend; but the remarkable 11th century historian and imperial princess, Anna Comnena, mentions Volissos and its castle in her Alexiad. What she was referring to was probably demolished by the Genoese builders when they began the construction of the existing fort.
   From the harbour of Limnia a road follows the coast west to the bay and monastery of Aghia Markella (4.5km)—site of the martyrdom of the young virgin saint of the (?)16th century (there is much ambiguity about the dates of her life) from Volissos whose feast day, 22 July, is the most widely celebrated in the island’s religious calendar. A simple cross at the water’s edge marks the point—at the far end of the beach—where the saint died reputedly at the hands of her possessed father: two springs of therapeutic water rise at the site, whose high mineral content has coloured the rock a deep red—symbolic of the blood of her martyrdom.

 

Chios Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island group
The NW of the Island. Volissos.


Random information you might what to know about Chios Island
Daskalopetra, a sanctuary to Cybele
Mesta village and wild orchids

 

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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