Chios page 4

South of Chios Town: The Kambos and Karfas

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsDue south of town is the fertile plain called the Campos (or Kambos). Many remnants of Chios' Genovese past are still to be seen in the form of plantations, villas, tall stone wall enclosed gardens, and the tell-tale stripes of Genoese nobility. Well-to-do Genovese overlords lived here side by side with their Greek serfs from the 14th Century onwards, cultivating Mastick and Mulberry trees.

The latter for the silk producing worms, which also added to the islands prestige. Nowadays, a few of the mansions have been preserved and their water wheels (manganos) still turn with the flowing of the streams. The Argentis Estates and that of the Kazanova Family are particularly beautiful.

Mastodon bones were found at Thymiana, outside the Campos walls. Thymiana was the source for Campos' golden building stone. There's a woman's cooperative there that produces rugs, towels, and woven goods.

Toward the village of Vivili is the octagonal domed church Panagia Krina, which contains fine Cretan frescoes.

Southwest of Chios Town: The Mastikochoria (Mastik growing villages)

chios hios n.e. aegean the greek islandsThere are about 20 villages dating from the Middle Ages where Mastick was grown and these are collectively referred to as the Mastikochoria. The Turks spared these in 1822 and are of Genovese design purposely planned to confuse would-be invaders. The first village is Armolia, topped by its Byzantine castle Kastro tis Oreas (1440).

Thriving Kalamoti is the next village and boasts cobbled streets and tall stone houses. Kalamoti has a pretty Byzantine church, Ag. Parskevi. It isn't far from the 12th Century church Panagia Sikelia. Sandy Komi is the nearest beach.

Pirgi (or Pyrgi) is the largest village of the region and well worth visiting as it contains many architectural details of the period particularly the xista sgraffito style of decoration. In Xista, the walls are covered with mortar containing black sand, then coated with white plaster which is scraped off to create geometric, floral or animal designs.

Wander through the remaining villages in the Mastikochoria to see the old mastic-exporting port at Emborio, the impressive tower at Olympi and the fortress at well-preserved mastic village Mesta. There are villages, tavernas, and beaches throughout this region of the island.

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