Kato Fana beach: Relaxing in a quiet sandy beach

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Kato Fana beach is probably the most beautiful sandy beach of Chios and a favorite choice for those seeking peace and tranquility, even during the bustling days of August. Situated in the southwestern part of Chios, 6 km from Pyrgi (on the road to the village Olympi), it is a small bay, well protected from the Aegean winds, an ideal choice for those who want to avoid the waves, even on days when Northern winds wrinkle the other beaches of Chios. For this reason, in ancient times, the bay was used by sailors as a safe anchorage.

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Agia Dinami: Dip into turquoise crystal clear waters

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The beach of Agia Dynami is a quiet beach near the village of Olympi and it is one of the most beautiful hidden beaches of the island as it is from the places where peace and tranquility meet the natural fascinating beauty.

A double bay that forms two beaches of white sand and fine pebbles, located at 7 km from the mastiha village Olympi. Above the bay there is the picturesque chapel "Agia Dynami" or "Agia Theodossia". In the courtyard of the church there is a shed and built benches where you can rest and enjoy the magnificent view of the exotic beach.

The beach is not organized so you should have your beverages and snacks purchased before. The closest selling point is the Café of Olympi Cave, located 1.7 km from the beach. Note that the cave of Olympi is open to visitors and is a great opportunity to visit it on the way to the beach.

The trees near the beach offer natural shade but in July and August you might not find it free so if you cannot stay long in the sun, you should have an umbrella with you. The crystal clear emerald waters of the beach will fascinate you and the incredible tranquility of the landscape will compensate you for the effort of carrying the necessary for your bath. Anyway we can guarantee that you will leave the beach with the feeling that you are leaving a paradise on earth.

Tip: With a bit more trouble and a five minutes walk on a short trail you will be able to reach the second part of the bay where a small seclusive beach is formed. There you can enjoy even more peace even in the most days of August.

 

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The countless aspects of Beauty at Chios Mastic Museum

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“The countless aspects of Beauty” is a periodic exhibition that took place at the National Archaeological Museum in celebration of its 150 years. A choice of unique antiquities that were presented in the context of this exhibition travelled to the thematic museums of Pireaus’s Group Cultural Foundation. In 2018, the exhibition was presented at Sparti, Ioannina and Tinos. Last Tuesday, it opened at Chios Mastic Museum, where it will remain until September 8, 2019.

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Wandering around Chios Mastiha villages in the autumn

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If you visit the villages of Mastiha (Chios Gum Mastic) at this time of the year in Chios island, Greece, you will come across a familiar image: women mastiha producers, and also men, of all ages are gathered in small groups at the alleys and corners of the village with large traditional sieves full of the recently gathered mastiha. They have already started the long copious process of cleaning the product. The aroma of mastiha fills the narrow village roads at Pyrgi, Mesta, Kalamoti and the rest of the 24 villages of mastiha.  

The first step of cleansing is the “tahtarisma”, that is the sifting of the product in order to separate the mastiha from leaves and soil. The next step is the cleansing in cold water, some even wash it with sea water and then the mastiha is laid out to dry.

After the product has dried, traditionally women take over. Using pointy small knives they clean each and every small piece and granule of mastiha from dirt and soil that may be stuck on it. This is a process that starts now, in the autumn, but depending on the workload and the time they devote to the cleansing, it may go on until spring.

This part of the cleaning process is done in groups. Companies of women gather to work together, while at the same time they exchange news and tell stories and jokes. This is their way to have fun during the difficult and monotonous process of mastiha cleaning.

Solidarity and cooperation between mastiha growers is characteristic of the social organization at the villages. For example, there is the tradition of “danikes”, which means borrowed. According to this tradition, a woman would ask her friends to help her with the cleaning then she would reciprocate. This goes for other agricultural tasks that one might have trouble completing in one’s own. However, it is a big disgrace if someone accepts help but does not reciprocate.

Another tradition which shows the power of women’s networks at the villages of Mastiha are the “syntrofisses” (meaning “comrades” or “companions”) at Pyrgi village. According to this tradition, a teenage girl’s mother would ask an already existing group of girls to accept her daughter in their group or company. The other mothers would talk it over with their daughters to decide whether they would accept the new girl in the group. The syntrofisses would meet daily to provide mutual support, work together and go out together.

Similar companies are found nowadays while wandering around the villages of mastiha. As the Mastiha villages are built as castlevillages, there is not enough room for the houses to have yards and patios, so people use the streets in front of their houses instead. The ladies of the Mastiha villages, despite their hard labour,  will welcome the visitor who passes from their street while they are working, cleaning the mastiha. They will show them the process of cleaning and will even pose gladly for a photograph.

Mastiha cultivation, which is basically unaltered during the centuries, has been inscribed in UNESCO’s list of intangible heritage. If you would like to experience the mastiha cultivation, you can contact Chios Tourism Department at the e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information or you can contact one of the specialized agencies in Chios island that provide experiential tours.

Sources:

The Chios Mastiha Growers Association https://www.gummastic.gr/el/mastixa-chiou/paradosiaki-kalliergia#katharisma

Zacharopoulos C., Barbikas E. (n.d.), Chios Mastiha PDO. Historic and folkloric references. The Chios Mastiha Growers Association

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Discovering the ceramic workshops of Armolia village

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The village of Armolia is located on the main crossroads to the mastiha villages of the south. It lies twenty kilometers from the town of Chios on a fertile plain. The people of Armolia maintain a long tradition in ceramic pottery, one of the oldest and most widespread of the decorative arts, consisting of objects made of clay and hardened with heat.


The main road at the entrance of the village is lined with pottery shops. Most of the shop owners continue the family tradition, creating traditional items just as their parents. Plus they are painting their creations both in traditional and modern designs and colours.

On your next visit at the mastiha villages discover the permanent exhibitions of hand-crafted ceramics and do not miss a visit at their wokshops where you can see yourself the potters working at the wheels showing how a lump of clay is transformed into a finished piece of pottery.


Tip: Armolia is a very beautiful village, spend some extra time wandering through the narrow streets and stop for a coffee, food or even a sweet at the exquisite pastry shop situated at the entrance of the village

 

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Contact: Regional Unit Of Chios Department of Tourism | Phone numbers: 0030 22713-50514 & 0030 22713-50516 | FAX: 0030 22713-50517 | Emailtourismos@chios.pvaigaiou.gov.gr