KAMPOS - PYRGI - MESTA

The first thing we encounter by going south from Hora(Chios Town) is the area of Kambos and is one of the most beautiful areas of the island. This is a place full of citrus orchards, old mansions and a dense, complex network of narrow roads. Kampos is also one of the most fertile areas of the island, high walls built with coloured stone of Thymiana village protect both gardens and mansions of great historic value. The architecture of the mansions was developed from the early Genoese period on the 14th to early 19th century.

The first village we encounter going south from Kambos is Armolia, famous for its traditional beautiful pottery. The Armolousians people have a long tradition in making and decorating ceramics such as: pitchers, vases, jars, bowls and cups so there is a marvelous collection of local ceramics, and you can still see the simple potter’s wheel turning.

Four kilometers from Pyrgi we get to the small bay of Emborio, where some remains of a very ancient village were found. The beach there is also called "Mavra Volia" (black pebbles), since the lava of the volcano next to it, covered the beach many years ago. These black pebbles, together with other white ones, are usually used to make mosaics on the floors, and good examples of it are the ones at the Library of Chios and at the Cathedral.

Returning to the main road, the next village is Pyrgi, the "painted" village. This is one of the most important medieval villages of Chios because of its traditions and its architecture. The village has long history, interesting folklore stories and great architectural interest. It preserves in good condition its medieval form which dominated all south villages. Located in the heart of the largest plain of the island , it consists of houses built next to each other and narrow streets. The houses form the outer wall of the village and the roofs are flat. The village was built in the 14th-15th century to protect the inhabitants from the pirates who wanted to grab the valuable mastiha. What makes the village special is the "xysta". Mainly decorative geometric patterns, carved and sharpened on the surfaces of the walls adorn every single construction of the village making Pyrgi a special destination. The Genoese tower constitutes an other interesting site of Pyrgi and so does the Byzantine church of the St Apostoli built in the 13th or 14th century.

The next village we encounter is located 6 kilometers away from Pyrgi. Its name is Olympi and it is interesting because of the enormous rectangular fort that stands right in the middle of the village and because the stalactite cave. This underground cavern impresses visitors with its depths of 57m. Because of its numerous calcite formations (stalactites and stalagmites), this cave of Chios can be ranged amongst the most remarkable and beautiful caves of Greece.

After Olympi we get to Mesta, probably the most characteristic of the medieval villages. This village-castle remains perfectly preserved since the Byzantine period and it has been designated as listed monument. The unity of the houses' walls and structures in the periphery obviously functioned as a strong fortification wall. It is the best conserved and the most representative of the medieval villages of the island. In its labyrinth, the visitor's mind can easily imagine how difficult it must have been for attackers from outside to find a way through the village. Because of the houses' shape, the structure of the village, the defense system and the natural treeless surroundings let this medieval village seem as if it was built on a fixed plan which may derive from the Genoese.

Finally, on the way back to Hora(Chios Town) and after having enjoyed the local cuisine and mezedes accompanied by ouzo at any of the villages, we come across the last villages. This are the villages of Elata, Vessa and Agios Georgios Sykoussis, this last one is built on the top of a leafy hill with an incredible view to the east.

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chios-south-tour

An overview map of this trip to the south

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