Chios island celebrates New Year with decorated model ships and good wish carols

  • Published in News

On Chios island, the cradle of the Greek shipping industry, we celebrate New Year by decorating model ships! “New Year’s model ships” is an authentic local tradition that takes place on New Year’s Eve normally at the town square, where locals and visitors can enjoy it.  

Groups from various neighbourhoods and parishes of Chios town, Vrontados and the villages form crews and work throughout the year to create their own model ship, either cargo or warship.  This time of year, they go around town carrying their model ship and singing traditional New Year’s carols of Chios island, which include custom made good wishes depending on who the recipient is, known as “penemata” in Greek. Penemata have improvised lyrics and follow musical paths of traditional Asia Minor carols.


On New Year’s Eve the crews gather at Chios town central square, or Homerion Cultural center, depending on the weather, to participate in “The best model ship contest”, organized by Chios Touring Club and Municipality of Chios. For a few hours, the crews stir up the town singing their “penemata”, and playing the traditional Chios bagpipe and the traditional drum. During the night, the crews visit neighborhoods all over town. People welcome them and listen to the carols and their good wishes, which are specially improvised to every household (the lyrics are adjusted depending on whether the specific household has children, immigrants or seamen).

Following this link, you can listen to an excellent performance of Chios traditional New Year’s carols and “penemata”, by Pantelis Thalassinos.

Read more...

Christmas at the enchanting Argentikon estate, on Chios island, Greece

  • Published in News

On the historic and unique area “Kampos” of Chios, is the award-winning “Argentikon Luxury Suites” hotel, in a beautiful 32,000 sq. Argentikon is a medieval mansion characterized as a Historical Monument and a Cultural Heritage Site by the Ministry of Culture.Every Christmas the owners decorate their wonderful estate and open it to the public. This year the estate will be open for the public from Saturday, December 15th to January 6th, 2019, offering a unique Christmas experience. 

The award-winning gardens of the estate compose a unique spectacle as they are adorned with 27,000 candles and 150,000 ornaments. Thousands of colors and beautiful images combined with the citrus aroma, the buildings of unique architecture, the imposing marble cistern and the traditional watering wheel, form a Christmas setting that leaves the visitors speechless. They are amazed from the moment they stand on the main gate (which is a work of art in itself) and they admire the tallest tree of the estate embellished with thousands of Christmas lamps.

As soon as they get in, they get a glimpse of the finely lighted plant corridors and the bright stars floating from above. While wandering in the estate they will meet a lovely band with Santa Clauses and the cute polar bears, the igloo made of lightbulbs, the bright snowmen and angels, the romantic unicorn, Santa Claus with his sleigh and a manger in human dimensions. At the end of the visit from the 20th to the 31st of December 2018, from 18.30 to 21.00, in the warm lounge at the entrance of the estate, visitors can meet Santa Claus!  Faithful to his appointment, he will be waiting to welcome his young friends ready to listen to their wishes. 

Tip: The best way to finish a visit to Christmas Argentikon, is a stop at a tavern of Kampos or of the nearby village Thymiana, where you can exchange your impressions while trying out local spirits and appetizers.

 

Read more...

Chios Mandarin: "A precious gift"

  • Published in News

The Chios Mandarin is the fruit of the Citrus deliciose tenore, and more specifically of the Common Chios variety. This delectable fruit was recently recognised by the European Commission and granted Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) under the trademark Mandarini Chiou, which means that no other location can claim ownership of this fruit.

The Chios Mandarin has been known under this name for several decades in Greece and abroad, and has also been responsible for a good part of the island’s citrus trade. Chios has a reputation for its unique produce (particularly its mastic gum and citrus fruits), a source of pride for the people who continue to cultivate the land with respect for the natural environment and their cultural roots, maintaining many of the estates in the heartland of this tradition, Kambos.

The difference between chios mandarine and the clementine variety, which is widely known in the market, is the intense aroma and the strong flavor. Chios  Mandarin is fragrant even when it is raw and it is full of vitamins. That is why in the past, in order to preserve their special characteristics, the Chiots wrapped the mandarins on paper printed with the producer’s logo one by one, before they were exported and sold abroad, where they were considered a luxury and a great gift to offer to someone you appreciate. 

Poster for advertising or boxing decoration

Wrapping paper

The locals claim that anyone who tastes Chios Mandarin can smell hours afterwards its long-lasting aroma. They love their product and traditionally use it for sweets, jams, liqueurs and add it to syrups, delights, sesame seed candies, marzipans, juices and even in tomato sauces, legumes or salads.

                      

On your next visit to Chios, do no miss to visit the Citrus Museum,  situated at Kambos area, in order to learn about the history and growth cycle of  Chios’s unique fruits. Plus you will have the chance to drink your coffee and enjoy local juices and sweets of citrus fruits in a traditional Kambos courtyard.

Read more...

November in Chios island: at the traditional distilleries of souma

  • Published in News

The liqueurs and ouzo of Chios are famous, but the less known souma is the star for this season. From the end of October to mid-December, the traditional distilleries operate in many villages of Chios and the locals enjoy the ritual of distillation of this traditional spirit.

The raw materials for the production of the souma are figs and this is the main difference from tsipouro, which is made from grapes. The figs, harvested at the end of August, are dried in the sun for about twenty days and then they are transported to the distillery, where they are put into big barrels with water, mixed with yeast. They ferment for about two weeks and then they are ready to be transferred into the copper still.

 

Aromatic plants or other fruits (anise, apples, mandarin oranges, quinces, as well as a small amount of mastic) are added to give a special flavor and aroma according to each producer’ s family recipe. Then the stills are filled and insulated with simple daily materials, the fire will be set, the boiling begins and the feast will follow!

The locals are gathered in the traditional distillery and while waiting for the souma to get ready they eat “meze” (traditional snacks) and they sing and dance, sometimes accompanied by live music! Although the process of distilling souma is not offered as an organised tourist activity, according to the tradition everyone is welcome.

So next time you are in Chios island during for this period, ask the villagers for information about next scheduled distillation and take part in the feast!

 

Read more...

Butterflies & dragonflies of Chios island, Greece

  • Published in News

Nature lovers and observers of rare species will find a paradise-on-earth on Chios island.

According to Mr. Mike Taylor, naturalist and researcher of Chios island’s dragonflies, Chios’ chlora and fauna consists of a mixture of European and Asian/Middle Eastern elements, because of the island’s geography (in Eastern Aegean, close to the Asia Minor coast).  Agricultural activity is non-intensive and the majority of population is gathered in Chios town – these facts have contributed to the preservation of the landscape and the protection of endemic plants and animals.

The intact nature of Chios is habitat for many species of dragonflies and butterflies, which the visitor can observe and admire either alone or with the help of a guide. These are valuable species, since dragonflies control the population of harmful insects, and the butterflies contribute to the pollination and reproduction of many plants.

These species that have impressive colours are also indicators of a stable ecosystem. On Chios island, we are lucky to enjoy the observation of many species, especially in areas that are habitats of the rare species. For naturalists and lovers of observation, here is a list of the species that you can see on Chios:

BUTTERFLIES:

  • Maniola Chia (endemic of Chios)
  • Archon apollinus
  • Zerynthia cerisyi
  • Arctia villica 
  • Panaxia quantripunctaria

Most butterflies are found in northern Chios.

DRAGONFLIES:

  • Sympecma fusca
  • Coenagrion puella
  • Coenagrion scitulum
  • Enallagma cyathigerum
  • Ischnura elegans
  • Platycnemis pennipes
  • Anax ephippiger
  • Anax imperator
  • Anax parthenope
  • Crocothemis erythraea
  • Orthetrum brunneum
  • Orthetrum cancellatum
  • Orthetrum coerulescens anceps
  • Cellisiothemis nigra
  • Sympetrum striolatum
  • Trithemis annulata

Dragonflies are found in water habitats, such as the Armolia reservoir, Kato Fana beach, Marmaro marsh, Kampia beach, Malagkiotis river in Volissos, mainly in spring and summer. 29 different dragonfly species have been recorded in Chios.

 Armolia reservoir

Armolia reservoir has been designated as the most important dragonfly habitat in Chios. This is a reservoir that was initially built to cover the needs of the ceramic workshops that traditionally operate in the area. It is located at the north edge of Armolia village, in the Mastichochoria area, about 28 km from town. It is the richest site in dragonflies. The sign and easy access make the reservoir the best spot for observation and photography of dragonflies and birds. 18 species of dragonfly have been observed so far at Armolia reservoir, which also breed there, according to Mike Taylor.  

 Nature observation on Chios island

In recent years, naturalists and nature lovers and observers choose Chios island for their holidays, especially in spring and autumn. A couple of specialized English travel agencies have organized special interest trips for dragonfly observation on Chios. If you are interested in discovering the secrets of Chios nature, either by following organized activities or through a program tailor made to your special interests, you can contact us at Chios Tourism Department at the e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in order to get all the necessary information.

Read more...

Homer, poet of the world, and his relationship with Chios island

  • Published in News

The great epic poet of the ancient world, creator of the Iliad and the Odyssey, is connected to Chios island through a tradition that dates back to ancient times and is alive until nowadays. Homer never mentioned his hometown sparkling thus a long dispute about it, as neither his biographers nor the researchers have agreed upon it. In this long dispute various Greek cities have claimed him, but Chios is always among them, and has become the predominant city claiming Homer’s origin. This connection is supported by a series of evidence from philological sources and archaeological findings to old local traditions. All this evidence has prompted the travelers that visited the island after the 14th century to seek zealously for signs of Homer’s school, his house and his grave. The travelers’ research on Homer added to this tradition that connect the epic poet to the island – a tradition that the people of Chios are very proud of.

On Homer’s trail

Which areas of Chios island are traditionally connected to the great epic poet of antiquity?

The temple of ancient goddess Cybele at Daskalopetra, also known as Homer’s Rock

The rock of Daskalopetra has been traditionally connected to the School of Homer. The main part of the rock has been thought of as the throne where the poet would sit, teach his students and recite his poems. The rock has always been visible since ancient times: an important site and reference for travelers and visitors.  

The interpretation of the ancient monument has long been disputed as well. The archaeological research has now concluded that it was an open-air temple of the ancient goddess Cybele, patron of nature and fertility, whose worship was popular in Chios. However, the misunderstanding with Homer might not be accidental. Some researchers have observed that the goddess’ worship could be connected to poetry competitions and Homerides, bards from Chios, who claimed that their ancestry dated back to Homer himself.


 Volissos &  Pityos

In ancient times there were no authentic historic records on the life and work of Homer, there were a lot of authors who tried to gather evidence that were part of the tradition and the collective memory. This way, the poet’s biographies were created mostly like fairy tales. The oldest and longest biography we know of is by Herodotus of Alicarnassus, known as Pseudoherodotus. The author describes Homer’s arrival and life in Chios. Among other things, he mentions his arrival on the island from Focea of Erythrea, when he spent one night at the beach. After that, he travelled into the mainland and arrived at the village we know today as Pityos. There he wandered in the forest where he had various adventures and he was taken in by a shepherd named Glaucus. The shpeperd led him to Volissos village, where he stayed and worked as a teacher, teaching the local lord’s children. Similar accounts are repeated in other biographies of the poet, connecting Homer to these parts of North Chios.  

 Homer and the travelers: “Epano merea”

 This connection was further supported by the accounts of the travelers that visited Chios from the 14th to the 19th century. They enthusiastically searched “Homeric sites”, recorded their experiences and the locals’ accounts and created maps marking important sites, such as Homer’s settlement and Homer’s grave.

Traveller Christoforo Buondelmonti was a characteristic example. He refers to “Epano merea” the Northwest past of the island, marking on the map he designed "Homer’s grave" and "Homer’s citadel".

 

Read more...

The Ypapanti Chapel of Chios & Juliette May Fraser: a cultural bridge between Chios island and Hawaii

  • Published in News

In the village of Vavi­li (one of the villages of Kampos area, situated 9 km from Chios) lies one of the island’s most unexpected treasures—the minuscule chapel of the Ypapanti (the ‘Purification of the Virgin’). Its interior is entirely covered with murals, painted by Juliette May Fraser (1887–1983), a famous muralist from Honolulu, Hawaii.

The majority of Juliette May Fraser’s work has remained in the Hawaiian islands, where she was born and died. However, while working in Athens in the early 1960s, she met a gifted woman from Vavili village, Mrs Afroditi Makri, who invited her for a short vacation in Chios. During this trip, she was fascinated by Chios and this small newly built chapel and volunteered to paint these murals. She stayed in Chios during the winter period of 1962-1963 with her collaborator, the artist David Asherman. Under difficult circumstances, but with the help of Mrs Makri, of all the villagers and of the local artist Nikos Gialouris, they painted the murals of the chapel as a gift to the village.

The outside of the chapel is decorated with geometrical patterns recalling the distinctive exteriors of the houses in Pyrgi­, while the interior decoration is created with the fresco technique. The scenes are a hybrid of eastern and western art, Byzantine and representational, modern and ancient, while the perspective comes and goes.  They are a mix of local and Hawaiian topography and eternal landscapes. The whole is unified by an airiness and overall brilliance of colour, and is executed with such genuine joy, that takes the visitors by surprise, once they enter the door of the chapel. The frescoes are one of the best examples of the art of May Fraser and a touching evidence of her love for Chios island!

Tip: The key of the chapel is kept in the house opposite and slightly further north.  Just knock, and the lady who lives there will gladly give it to you.

Read more...

Wandering around Chios Mastiha villages in the autumn

  • Published in News

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

Read more...

Massourakia from Chios: a sweet indulgence of mastiha and almond

  • Published in News

Do you know which sweet the Chians offer as a gift when visiting their friends living outside of Chios? Massourakia! They are delicious, made with a traditional recipe of Chios and mashed mastiha and almond. On your next visit to Chios, do not miss visiting a patisserie in order to try them out. If you still can not wait until then, we recommend a recipe to make them.

Ingredients
1 pack of Phyllo pastry, 150 g of cow butter
For stuffing
400 g sweet Chios mastic (submarine), 500 grams of almonds, zest mandarin or lemon, 2 egg whites, 1 pinch of salt
For the syrup
200 g of sugar, 200 g of water, lemon peel, 1 tsp lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of flowering water

For serving
Icing sugar, ground almonds

First grind the whitened almonds until they are finely chopped and not completely powdered and put in a bowl. In a bain marie, gently melt the Chios mastic preserve, dilute some of its texture so that you can mix it well with the rest of the ingredients. Pour it into the finely chopped almonds and zests. Stir the materials with a spoon. Beat the egg whites and the salt in a soft meringue, until peaks are formed. Gradually pour the meringue into the almonds and with a soft spatula add the other ingredients. Open the leaves on the counter, cut them in 4 pieces and cover them with a fresh towel to avoid drying. Get a square piece of phyllo and coat with melted butter, then put another phyllo on top of it. Fill in along with a little stuffing patterned like a thin cord (here can help the confectionary crown). Close the sides to seal the filling. Wrap in a tight roll. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. Butter plate a baking pan and place your massourakia. Coat  them with as much butter as possible. Bake for about 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Prepare the syrup and keep it  warm. Once we've lowered the syrup from the heat, add the rose water, and mix. After the masks are roasted and the rosin is started, we put them all in a baking dish, they are close to each other and there are no gaps between them. As they are removed from the oven, pour them a little with the hot syrup. Let them cool all in the pan and drink their syrup well. After they cool down, we roll them to ground almond to clothe them or crack them with powdered sugar Good luck!

Read more...

Discovering the ceramic workshops of Armolia village

  • Published in News

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

 

Read more...

Archive

Click here, to visit the website of the former Prefecture of Chios.

Chios.gr is the official tourism web site for Chios, run by the North Aegean Prefecture, where you'll find information on the main tourist destinations, beaches, as well as activities, events and much more!

You are not allowed to reproduce the whole or part of this work in any way without our written permission.

greece

mygreece

Read reviews about Chios on
Χίος

pvaigaiou en

where-to-stay

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