"THE CITY OF CHIOS - Chora" Chios Island Travelogue by greekcypriot
Chios Island Travel Guide: 79 reviews and 154 photos
I honestly was disappointed when we drove to the City of Chios, because it is a bustling port and commercial city. It is not obviously picturesque, however it is a city that offers several diversions to those who like to visit a foreign locale. The visitor should make a point of walking back from the busy harbour quay-road and explore some of the older streets. This port road is the place where most of the hotels, café shops, souvenir shops, travel agencies and restaurants are.
The City of Chios is built on a long coastal plain backed by mountains. The village of Karfas is to the south of the city and Vrontados in the north.
The remains of the medieval fortress on the northern edge of the town is impressive, however only a few remains of walls and the theatre are to be seen today.
To be honest we did not see much of the City. Besides I am here to explore the beautiful villages of Chios, and I am planning to see many of these old villages of the southern part of the island in this first trip of mine. The city of Chios at the moment is not included in this trip. I hate places that are busy with so much traffic and very touristy.
The big central park at Voukianiou Square is an oasis in this city, and it is surrounded with cafes and small tables with people sitting under the shade of trees. Here old men play cards, sometimes chess, or backgammon. They are served either ouzo or suma which is a kind of alcoholic drink like tsipouro but it’s made from figs. They accompany these drinks with mezedes.
A column commemorating the leaders of Chios who had been hunged by Turks in 1822 is on the north side of the square.
An old Turkish Mosque with a tall minaret is at the east side of the square, and it houses the Byzantine Museum.
Most of the buildings in Chios-town were destroyed in the earthquake of 1881. They were neo-classical or Smyrnian design, and unfortunately after the earthquake many of the houses were demolished to make way to modern apartment buildings. The locals had probably not realized the beauty of those older buildings until it was too late. Luckily those which were saved were restored and these projects are in evidence today.
Many young people can be found sitting at the café shops at the waterfront. Most of them are enjoying a frappe coffee or mixed drinks in the evenings. They sit there and enjoy some chat with friends. I noticed that some bars and restaurants had more customers than others, and there were quite a few with almost none. I believe the most trendiest place absorbs more people. Of course this is something that I really don’t care because I am here to explore the island and not hang around for a coffee or a chat.
There are many soldiers on this island since Chios is a border island, and in fact my son was here for about 3 or 4 months when younger. You can find them in the cafes or some bars.
Several shops specializing in masticha products can also be found on the waterfront of the city of Chios. The Mastihashop owned by the Cooperative of Mastiha Growers on Chios has a wide variety of masticha products.
In other shops found in this area a visitor can find other traditional products from the island. The waterfront has also many of the fastfood joints which can be found anywhere in Greece. Something else that a visitor can find here is the foreign press shop with all kinds of magazines, and it is here that you can get your guidebooks or maps that will help you explore the island before moving on. Many foreign Newspapers can be found here as well. Papers like the Athens News, and the Herald Tribune, and many more.
The castle is one of the nicest sights worth being visited of the town and belongs to the few castles which remain inhabited. It was built in the Byzantine period, and constituted then the administrative centre of the island. It enjoyed a great development during the Genovese governance. It was an example of a Renaissance-type city. Its walls resisted numerous attacks from Genovese, Venetians and Turks. It is surrouded by a 60 meters large ditch and the fortress has 9 towers.
Chios is the island of Mastic and Homer acquired throughout the centuries fabulous monuments which witness Chio's long cultural, shipping and trade history, from ancient times till now.
The area in the southern part of the town, known as " Kampos" is of particular natural beauty and of noble appearance. It is a very big area with tangerine, orange, and lemon trees. The picture of this area is unique in the islands of the Aegean. The mansions of the plain, built with the red stones of the island are unique models of architecture.
Many of them were built in the 14th century. Every property is a sight worth beeing seen in itself.
The Kampos plain, with its medieval architecture and its incomparable charm always wins unlimited admiration.
Just 4 km far north from the City of Chios, is the area of Vrondados, extended at length of the coast street after the Chios hospital.
It is worth having a walk in the neighborhood of Vrondados to see its island-architecture and its windmills near the Sea. It is a calm but well-visited area with very nice beaches and essential sightseeing's.
The most important of it is "Homer's Stone" called Daskalopetra" (the Stone of the Master), an uplifted rock next to the sea, the teching place of Homer who was the greatest poet of human history, the spiritual model of later generations till today.
Near this site are the organized beaches Ormos Lo and Daskalopetra.
The Vrondados area is well-known through a custom happening every year on Eastern, after the Announcement of " Rouketopolemos" (fight of fireworks), offers a fantastic spectacle every year and gets known in the world through tv-news.
A complete highway system connects the city of Chios with the 64 villages (belonging to 8 communes) and the fabulous beaches of the island.
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