Pyrgi Mesta Tour is built like a fortress and is completely enclosed by defensive walls.
Thanks to extensive knowledge and experience of Chios tourism product, a series of one-day tours were devised for visitors to choose like Pyrgi Mesta villages
Pyrgi Mesta Tour has a nice square with several good tavernas
Walking around the narrow alleys of Pyrgi Mesta you will realize how difficult it was for the attackers to find their way through the villages
The cobbled alleys are at times so narrow that you can touch the houses on both sides on Pyrgi Mesta
Pyrgi Mesta Tour with paved alleys and incredible views, first class gastronomy and unique local products, amazing landscapes to ramble admiring incredible flora & fauna and enjoying breathtaking views.
The villages is unique in Greece, just as Pyrgi Mesta Tour is dated from the Middle Ages, and is also built as an impregnable fortress
The aristocratic Kampos
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 houses with two to three floors rise imposingly above the tops of the trees, to ensure panoramic views of their masters alongside the control of the estate. Internal and external staircases are tied to the complex to perform operational purposes. Arched doorways and windows, arcades marble pillars, balconies supported by small arches and huge gates with escutcheons and various reliefs, pebbled courtyards and frescoed ceilings lend a peculiarity in separate local architectural style of the area, a result of local conditions.
In the 14th century, the Genoese and Chian aristocracy selected this area to build their mansions. High walls of stone, from the village of Thymiana near Kampos, protected the Mansion from dust and the cold winds. Elaborate cisterns, decorated with marble man-made motifs and spouts, are a central figure in the courtyards.
Kampos was a wealthy and impressive community. It is composed of stone-built mansions – testimonials to art and architecture – blooming gardens and traditional wood water-mills. Prominent families of the island once owned and lived in these estates and today, Chian families have restored them into residential heritage beauties. They have also been converted into upmarket hotels or picturesque taverns with a high aesthetic.
The gardens were watered by wells with mangle previously turned by animals, while now the irrigation is made with more modern means. Elaborate cisterns adorned with marble reliefs and hydrants; occupy a prominent place in the yards. Shady paths, blooming gardens and creeper jasmine create a unique environment. The houses with two to three floors rise imposingly above the tops of the trees, to ensure panoramic views of their masters alongside the control of the estate. Internal and external staircases are tied to the complex to perform operational purposes. Arched doorways and windows, arcades marble pillars, balconies supported by small arches and huge gates with escutcheons and various reliefs, pebbled courtyards and frescoed ceilings lend a peculiarity in separate local architectural style of the area, a result of local conditions.
The Painted Village
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 Armolia 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.
At Pyrgi, one sees scraped designs called Xysta on the facades of the houses. This is a technique of hand-engraving geometric motifs in black and white on plaster. It is based on plastering-sand being applied to the wall, carefully painted white, then scraped with the designs. These Xysta, reminiscent of the Italian Sgraffito, a form of decoration which stems from Genoa, has made the Pyrgi unique.
At the center of Pyrgi rises the defence tower, where the inhabitants took refuge in the case of attack, using a movable bridge. The streets are narrow, stone-paved, and are connected to the central tower square. At frequent intervals there are transverse archways supporting the structures, as well as vaults and arches supporting the rooms. The functional character of the houses was geared to defence, and thus the inhabitants were able to move about the roofs without being seen. The four-sided shape of these houses, their thick structure, the defence system, the small areas for general use, and their relation to the treeless, natural surroundings, convince us that Pyrgi was built on a fixed plan which may have been imposed by the Genoese.
Mavra Volia is unique scenery you could not compare it with any beach of the world. Its beauty is the black pebbles, a result of a volcano eruption (the inactive Psaronas) hundreds of years ago. It is the only beach with black pebbles on the island. Go there to enjoy the magic of the volcanic scenery and the taste of fresh fish at the nearby taverns at the picturesque Emporios village.
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 medieval Mesta
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.