chios map chios portNea Moni

Chios, the 5th largest island in Greece, inhabited without interval since the Neolithic Age until nowadays, has been famous for its powerful maritime tradition due to its geographical position. It was from the 7th century B.C. to the 4th century B.C. that Chios was at the peak of its power and wealth.

It was during the Byzantine period (4th century - 1346) that Nea Moni (a well-known monastery because of its mosaics, characterized by UNESCO as a world monument of Cultural Heritage) and the fortress of the town of Chios were erected.

It was during the time the island had been under the control of the Genoese (1346-1566) that the trade of mastiha had been developed and the “village–fortresses” were established on the southern part of the island. Mesta is one of them. Later the island had been ruled by the Turks and the massacre of the inhabitants in 1822, after an unsuccessful rebellion, moved the Europeans deeply and gave inspiration to artists like Eugene Delacroix and Victor Hugo. The island gained its freedom and joined Greece in 1912.

Nowadays the island has a population of about 53.000 inhabitants ,half of which lives in the town. The great maritime tradition is one of the particular features of the island proof of which is the fact that Christopher Colombus, preparing for his long voyages, came to Chios in search of skilled sailors. Finally, let’s not forget that it was in Chios that Homer, the great poet of antiquity, lived and taught.