Central Chios


Heading west of the town, we see another view of the island. We meet the Holy Parthenon of Panagia Voitheias, a nunnery founded in 1930. The icon of the Virgin Mary is considered miraculous, while the katholikon has been hagiographed by the famous hagiographer G. Panagiotakis. She has several nuns, who deal with hagiography, weaving, embroidery and small crafts.
Next, we meet Karyes, a beautiful village built amphitheatrically in an area with abundant vegetation on the western outskirts of Chora. Even higher, on Mount Penthodos, is the hermitage of St. Mark, founded in 1886 by the ascetic Parthenios, on the site of a pre-existing from 1700, but ruined temple of the evangelist Mark. Hagiography was particularly developed in the monastery. Near it is the currently inactive Monastery of Kournas. It was founded by the Roman Catholics of Chios during the years of the Genoese Empire and is dedicated to the Living Source. During the Turkish occupation it was handed over to the Orthodox and annexed as a seat to the New Monastery.

 

Nea Moni

Nea Moni is without a doubt the most important monument on the island and one of the leading expressions of Byzantine culture in Greece. It is located 13 km from Chora, at the foot of Mount Provatas. The history of the founding of the monastery is inferred from imperial gold bullions, old manuscripts and traditions. In the same place there was a monastery known as the Palia Moni dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It was built where her image was found, which survives to this day. According to tradition, during the period of exile in Lesvos, the later emperor Constantine the Gladiator heard a prophecy from three monks of Palaia Moni about his imminent ascension to the throne. Probably, Nea Moni was the fulfillment of his promise to establish a large monastery in case the prophecy would be verified.Indeed, around 1042 began the inauguration of the new catholic which as an imperial donation was a work of top art and exceptional splendor.In the centuries that followed, the monastery suffered from destruction, looting and drowning. But the massacre of 1822 was undoubtedly the greatest ordeal. The Turks, after slaughtering women and monks and looting their precious utensils, completed the atrocities by setting the monastery on fire. A significant part of the mosaics was destroyed, depriving the temple of its eponymous splendor. Another raid took place in 1828, while in 1881 a strong earthquake completed the disasters. In recent years some restoration work has been done and the situation has improved. It celebrates on the 23rd of August and is visited by many believers to worship the historical and miraculous icon of Panagia Neamonitissa.
After Nea Moni, south of the road to Avgonyma, is the hermitage of the Holy Fathers. It was built around the cave where the three founders of the New Monastery were consecrated and gradually, especially after 1868, the area was transformed into the largest monastic center of the island. The complex building complex of the monastery has spacious guesthouses. From the plateau in front of the church of the monastery the view to the sea and to the coasts of Asia Minor is impressive.

 

Avgonima

Avgonyma is a small isolated mountain village 15km northwest of Chora. Far from the affluent parts of the south, the settlement is an eloquent example of medieval architecture with its narrow streets forming a solid urban fabric around the square. The stone houses are single-storey or two-storey and the access to the first floor is made by an external stone staircase. Pay attention to the characteristic windows with the two-tone arched end.

Anavatos

After Avgonyma 4km to the north, you reach the most isolated settlement of the island, Anavatos. As you approach, this uninhabited place is suddenly revealed sculpted on bare rocks. At the roots of the settlement, where the few inhabited houses are located, you can cool off at the fountain before your ascent to the "castle". Anavatos was the last stronghold of resistance to the events of 1822. According to testimonies, it was occupied by treason and many besieged preferred to fall on the terrible cliff in order not to be captured. In the following years it was inhabited again, but after the earthquake of 1881 it was permanently deserted. Today the settlement is protected as a place of history and special beauty and some houses have been inhabited.In the lower neighborhood outside the castle, the houses are in better condition. They are all two-storey, vaulted with small arched openings. Inside the castle there are many ruins and the church of Taxiarches with two roofs. From the top of the castle the spectacle of the menacing cliff is impressive.