Chios’ long maritime tradition has determined the history and social organization of the island as well as the identity of the destination and its people. It is as important as the cultivation of the unique Chios natural mastiha (PDO).
The maritime villages of the island are full of exciting stories of hard work and success as well as grief and separation. At the kafeneia (coffee shops) mariners (retired or not) will tell stories of journeys at exotic places and ports.
Vrontados, Sykiada, Lagada, Kardamyla and Oinousses are proud of their mariners, captains and engineers. This long tradition of work at sea continues today with a lot of young people choosing to follow a career at the Greek Merchant Navy. The fact that a lot of powerful shipowners that dominate today’s global maritime industry are from Chios has played an important role in this tradition.
Built by the sea, Chios’ maritime villages are living examples of this long tradition, which is evident in their architecture, the works of art in the public places, the infrastructure projects that have been donated by shipbuilding families (such as the Fafalieion Stadium in Vrontados, the Livaneio High School of Kardamyla and the Schools of Merchant Navy). Everyday life here is built around and based on the sea.
A landmark that one cannot miss at the seaside of Vrontados is the Lost Sailor, a sculpture by Thanasis Apartis, dedicated to the mariners that were lost at sea. Accordingly, Maramaro, the seaside of Kardamyla village, is dominated by the sculptures dedicated at the mariner of Kardamyla and the mothers of Kardamyla that bid farewell to their sons and husbands, as they set out for a long journey at sea. On arrival at Oinousses, we are greeted by the Mermaid, a sculpture by Mary Papakonstantinou, dedicated to the magic sea creature that wishes well to mariners on their trips and a speedy and safe return.