Kampos, a paradise for runners

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Those who choose running as a workout have the convenience of exercising wherever they are, and of course on their holidays, since this is the most appropriate and easiest exercise that one can do, that also offers mental uplift in addition to body training. But when one runs at Kampos, the enjoyment of running takes a whole different dimension.

Kampos of Chios is a plain, stretching along the eastern coast of the island, 10 km long and 2 km wide. The whole area is a sightseeing spot and it is protected by the Greek Ministry of Culture as a historical site and a traditional settlement. The natural landscape and the remarkable architecture that combines elements from the Genoese and the modern neoclassic cultural heritage of the island, the narrow, quiet and tangled streets between the citrus orchards and the imposing mansions with the high walls, make Kampos an ideal place for running. The area offers a wide range of running routes without elevation, ideal for those looking for large asphalt tracks. If someone wants to run uphill, there is also this option that will lead him to the highest points around Kampos, which offer a unique view of the area.

Running lovers will find the paths of their dreams in Kampos. Clean environment, with unexpected citrus smells emerging from the orchards and calm, as there are not many cars in the area.

The mansions with the arched doors and windows, the walls and the elaborate garden doors will make the runners want to run more and more in order to admire them all. There are many route choices and all you need is good music and the right stretches for a memorable run.

Tip: Every year, a semi marathon race of 21 km is organized in Kampos, a unique route crossing citrus fruit gardens. The event takes place at the end of the summer and this year is scheduled for Sunday 1st of September. There is also a choice for running or walking on a 10 or 5 km route. For more information and participation, visit: http://www.chiosrunning.gr/en/ 

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Maritime tradition of Chios island

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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.

 

 

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Weekend idea… Explore Central Chios!

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February is coming and there is no better idea than an excursion to Central Chios to make a winter Sunday exciting!

 

Starting from the town of Chios, take your coffee and maybe some “loukoumades” in a box and enjoy the ride through pine trees to the "Aegean Mistras". This is Anavatos, the village with two-storey stone houses that look like hanging over the cliff. Take your coffee with you and climb to the highest point of the village, through the stone paved path and the old abandoned houses. When you make it to the top, the winter landscape and the view will take your breath away!

 

Then head to the picturesque village of Avgonima, situated just 6 km away, uniquely built on a rocky hill among the pine forests. The stone, cube-shaped houses, the narrow streets and the stone-paved alleys are perfect for both adults and children, since they create a perfect setting for romantic walks and endless games at the same time. The village is one of the classic gastronomic destinations for the Chians, who visit it often for the good food served at the local traditional taverns. Follow the smell and stop at a tavern to eat hand-made pasta with rooster, goat, vegan “keftedes”, fresh cheese (mizithra) and the mushrooms called “amanites” accompanied by Chian wine, ouzo or souma!

Can you think of a better way to spend a winter Sunday or even an entire weekend next to the fireplace?

Book now a short stay in one of the traditional hotels of the village.

 

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Mastiha on the rocks!

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The unique Mastiha is the brand product of Chios. Its multiple uses are constantly increasing. However, since the old days, the Chians used to make a special liqueur flavored with mastic.

The "Chios Mastiha" liqueur is classified among the Greek PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) products. It is produced either by blending mastic oil, alcohol and sugar, or by extracting alcohol from mastic tears and then distilling and mixing with sugar. It is transparent and distinguished by its particular aroma and its qualities as an excellent digestive. A glass of mastiha liqueur can accompany sweets or ice creams on an afternoon call, can perfectly close a nice meal, or give a special flavor to a fruit salad.

In recent years, its special flavor has challenged the imagination of professional bartenders all over the world, who are creating cocktails with mastiha. Also the local bars of Chios have worked hard and have managed to raise their cocktail lists to a very high level, satisfying even for the most demanding connoisseurs, and winning international bartending contests. On your next visit to Chios, visit the local bars and you will be thrilled by the variety and the quality of the mastiha flavored cocktails.

Till then, try making a Mastiha Mojito” following this recipe:

Materials:2 ½ tsp. sugar

10 ml of fresh lemon juice

40 ml mastiha liqueur

20 ml of white rum

soda

ice

some mint leaves for garnish 

Implementation:Put the sugar, lemon and mint in a mortar and beat them. Add the rest of the ingredients and enjoy!

 

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Amanites: a "precious" meze

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In Chios and especially in the northern part of the island, when it is raining, a special type of mushrooms that the locals call “Amanites”, grow on the mountains.  With the scientific name Lactarius Salmanicolor, these mushrooms resemble the pleurotus mushrooms in the shape, but they have a difference in color, since they are orange, and in taste, since they are much tastier.

They are usually found under the pine trees, alone, or in groups of 2-3 mushrooms and like most wild mushrooms are scarce, since their main part is under the earth and almost always they are invisible. They grow in the most unlikely places and in order to find them one needs knowledge, effort and patience. The lovers of these mushrooms should be accompanied by an  expert who knows how to distinguish them from poisonous ones that have a similar look.

The locals however know specific spots where the mushrooms grow every year and also how to discover them, and this knowledge, that of course they usually do not share, makes the process easier for them. In order to protect the species, there is a limitation by the local forestry authority, which sets a limit for every mushroom lover, to cut up to two kg per day and to be careful not to touch their roots.

Amanites are usually fried and then served with some vinegar and lemon, but they are also delicious roasted or sautéed in the pan with wine and garlic! So, next time in Chios, ask for this exquisite “meze” at the local taverns. If you accompany them with some local wine, ouzo or souma, you will understand why the Chians walk miles on the mountains, early in the morning to discover them.

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

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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.

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

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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.

 

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Chios Mandarin: "A precious gift"

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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.

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November in Chios island: at the traditional distilleries of souma

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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!

 

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Butterflies & dragonflies of Chios island, Greece

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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.

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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!

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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