Built on the east coast of the Greek island of the same name, the town of Chios is living proof of the maritime glory and aristocratic nature of the island. Known for its historical relevance as much as for its legendary beauty, Chios is said to be the birthplace of Homer and where the philosopher would sit on a stone and teach – visitors need just to dip their feet in the water to imbibe in legend and lore. View more
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Discover the history of Chios during this half-day panoramic tour with museum and library visits.
Although Chios has been prosperous since antiquity, today's island is largely a product of the Middle Ages. Under the Genoese, who controlled the highly profitable gum mastic, the island became one of the richest in the Mediterranean.
Departing from the port of Chios, drive to Vrodados towards the north end of the island. Once here, visit Homer's Stone or Daskalopetra meaning the 'Teacher's Stone'. According to the local legend it is the place where the blind poet of antiquity narrated his poems to his students.
Your next visit is the Koraes library, one of the oldest in Greece. The Library of Koraes was founded by the Ephorate of Orthodox Schools of Chios and it initially operated as a branch of the School of Chios. Father and founder of the library was Adamantios Koraes (1748-1833) a great Greek literate and writer. The library was named after the one of the most significant intellectual personalities of Chios Island, Adamantios Koraes, when it gained its independence in 1928. The first building of the Library of Koraes was destroyed during the massacre of Chios in 1839. The current neoclassical building of the library begun the reconstruction in 1884 with funds by the School Board and took its final form after it was renovated in 1948 and in 1978 by the Agrentis' family. Major core of the library were the books and the manuscripts of the great writer Koraes. During the year 1858 in the Library of Koraes was added the library of I. Andreadis, M. and afterwards a large number of literates from Chios Island donated a significant number of books. It was of great significance the enrichment of the library by the Argentis' family, which donated a variety of books, paintings, maps and other precious exhibits. Today in Korai's library you can find more than one hundred thousand volumes of books, with significant and rare publications. The collection also includes important manuscripts codices, maps, pictures, photos and files of newspapers and magazines.
Afterwards, your tour continues towards the south of the island not too far from Chios town to one of the most famous areas of Chios, Kambos. It is known for its houses' architecture and of the orange and lemon plantations. Here you have the opportunity to visit the Citrus museum, which was established in a unique mansion of 1742. Citrus memory scent was created aiming to highlight the history of Kambos and its citrus orchards. In the lowest part of the mansion an exhibition informs about the cultivation of citrus fruits, tools used, production processes and product packaging. Learning about the mansions of Kambos, the orchards, the 'maganoi' and the walls that surround them is possible through paintings and a video which you are shown.
Following this visit, re-join your coach for the return transfer to the pier and your awaiting ship.
Please note: Tour involves moderate walking and is suitable for guests with limited mobility; however it is not wheelchair accessible. We recommend guests wear seasonal clothing, flat, walking shoes and sun protection. The order of sites visited may vary.
Discover the ancient past of Chios and its environs during this half-day outing.
The island of Chios is most known for its production of mastic and its claim to be the birthplace of Homer. Once prosperous in ancient times the islands various invaders and occupiers eventually brought the island to near devastation. This did not however leave Chios without the artistic and architectural remains of their past prosperity albeit under the control of ruling forces, especially the Genoese.
Nea Moni Monastery
Driving out of the harbour area up and through sheep fields the Nea Moni monastery is reached. This 11th century structure is the most important of the islands' seven monasteries. Although damaged during the earthquake of 1881 it has been gracefully restored and houses extraordinary mosaics and frescoes. A short distance away is the village of Avgonima. Here a refreshment is served in the village square where the medieval buildings can be admired.
Continuing though picturesque green mountains, the village of Anavatos is reached. This fine example of medieval architecture has very few inhabitants today, giving the feeling of a semi-ghost town, the main population having been massacred in 1822 by the Turks. It was here that the women and children of the village threw themselves off a cliff rather than be captured by the invaders. The historic castle dominates the whole area. Its tower like houses are well preserved as is its renovated church. Still to be seen are the ruins of the acropolis, the city walls and reservoir.
Please note: Tour involves moderate walking and is not wheelchair accessible due to the approximate 20 steps to be negotiated. Guests should wear seasonal clothing, flat, walking shoes and sun protection.
Discover the highlights of this ancient city during this half-day outing.
Leaving the harbour of Chios your scenic island tour begins following the western coastal road of the island. Your drive continues inland crossing the Kambos plain, one of the most beautiful places on the island, with orchards surrounded by tall medieval walls and gates inscribed with some forgotten coat of arms. Each of the large medieval houses has a water wheel and, in combination with the meadows, wooden bridges and old trees, creates a scene of rural peace, unique on the Greek islands.
Continue your tour to Armolia village, one of the smallest and simplest of the mastichochoria (mastic villages) where you may enjoy a brief visit to one of the many Masticha plantations of the island and you are able to see the Chios gum (or mastic) trees. From these bushy trees, cultivated only here in the south of Chios, mastic gum is produced.
Then proceed to Pyrgi, renowned for its bright houses, many patterned with xysta (grating) decoration. Outer walls are plastered using black sand and coated with whitewash. This is then carefully scraped off in repetitive geometric patterns, revealing the black undercoat. An example of this is the church of Agioi Apostoloi (St. Apostoles), which will be visited and where you may admire its medieval frescoes.
A short refreshment break follows, before continuing your tour to Mesta, a medieval village which, together with Pyrgi, represents the fortifying architecture of the 14th and 15th centuries on the island. In the Centre of each village, a defensive tower was erected to protect the peasants from the pirates' invasions. The narrow, stone-paved streets are joined to the central square. Here, visit the church of Taxiarchis, a 19th century church, the largest in Chios which dominates the central square. The atmospheric interior has a fine carved altar screen.
Following this visit, re-join your coach for the return drive to the pier.
Please note: Tour involves moderate to extensive walking with stairs to negotiate and is not recommended for guests with limited mobility or for those who utilize a wheelchair. Seasonal attire, flat, walking shoes and sun protection are recommended. A minimum number of guests per guide is required to operate this programme.