espa-kanaristous

South Chios


Pyrgi

Pyrgi was thus named after its large and tall tower, around which the present village was built by many small and large settlements. It is the largest of the villages of southern Chios, with a population of 755 (2011 census). It is rich and important from a folklore, archeological and linguistic point of view. It is built on the southeast side of the Patella hill, with an oval perimeter, surrounded by a medieval enclosure, which forms the outer wall of its extreme houses. The Tower looks like it came from another era. And it is, as it is preserved as it was built and has been declared a preserved monument.
The houses, glued to each other, are connected with impressive arches across the street. The feeling that the village was built to protect its inhabitants is pervasive as the visitor walks through its picturesque streets. Moreover, this defense tower, in the center of the village, which served as a refuge in the event of an attack, seals it.
Narrow, stone streets, the church of the Holy Apostles, dating from the 13th century, a multitude of other churches but mainly the geometric decoration of the exterior walls of the houses make Pyrgi truly unique.
The facades of the houses are the trademark of the village, with the famous "scrapers" creating very geometric shapes and giving the Pyrgi its unique character. The striking technique, which is hand-carved, involves black sanding whitening and then scraping. So with the help of diabetes, the famous black patterns are created on a white background, simple or complex, that is kept alive to this day. Their designs consist of squares, rhombs, triangles, many of which have bouquets in vases, storks, tree branches, leaf-limbs, etc.

 

Mesta

Mesta dominates in a small valley and was built in Byzantine times, in a pentagonal and closed quadrangular shape with winding interior alleys, while the houses built on the outside played the role of a wall, so they had no windows to the outside. The Genoese improved the fortification of the village, which was under attack by pirates. In the outer corners of the village were small circular towers (and still survive in Mesta). The defense was made from the roofs, as was the retreat to the central tower. The arched arcades were arranged in places where the perimeter of the defense was confined to a wall.
The particular element of the village is its architecture, as the houses are built very close to each other, while communicating with each other through very narrow, covered alleys, the "domes". Reason defenders imposed the ability to move on the roofs of the houses, that is, their uniform level throughout the settlement. This, combined with the dense continuous building system, the independence of the ground floor and floor planes and the creation of living spaces above the streets (at the height of the floor) creates the impression of a large building.
A stroll through the small alleys of the village, under the arches that form the balconies, offers the visitor a unique experience. Bigger and more important than the churches is that of the Taxiarches, which was built in 1868 on the site of the old circular castle tower. The carved iconostasis of Mikros Taxiarchis is considered an elaborate specimen of Chios wood carving.
The village is a tourist attraction, both for its unique medieval architecture and for the natural beauty of the area, as some of the island's most beautiful beaches are within walking distance.

 

Armolia

Armolia has been a traditional pottery center for centuries, to the extent that the name Armolousis predominated in Chios beyond the village's inhabitants and any person engaged in the profession. In addition, Armolia is one of the villages of Chios that preserve in the present day elements of the urban and architectural features of the medieval settlements of the island.
The visitor should take a stroll through the alleys and cobbled streets of the village and visit the church of the Virgin Mary, which is united with Saint Demetrios in the village square, where one of the most beautiful temples is preserved (dated 1744).
Towards the northwest of the village, on the top of the hill of Lykourios lies the Byzantine castle of Apollichni where the Genoese had installed the administrative mansion of Mastichochoria. It was built in 1446 by Hieronymus Justinian.
It is a remarkable medieval monument preserved to this day in good condition. At some points the castle still has all its height and battlements. The ascent to the castle is marked by the edge of the settlement and follows a short dirt road and then a path with built stairs leading to the eastern entrance of the fortress.
Administratively, a few years after the liberation of Chios during the Balkan Wars and its integration into the Greek state, Armolia was designated in 1918 as the community headquarters of Chios province. In 1989 they joined the newly formed Mastichohoria municipality, and since 2011 they belong to the enlarged municipality of Chios.

 

Olympoi

There is also a central gate, a defensive tower, which is preserved half-ruined and narrow streets with vaulted stone arches above them that connected the houses to each other. In the village square is the small church of Agia Paraskevi with its wood-carved iconostasis 18th Century. The visitor deserves to see the Bank of Olympus, a two-storey building with long hallways preserved from the old medieval period in very good condition. village custom of Aga. Mesta, Elata, Lithi are some more villages where the custom of Aga is revived. Agas is a strict judge appointed by the inhabitants of the village. He judges and condemns most of those present. As for the one who is convicted, he is obliged to redeem his sentence. The main characteristic of the trial is humor. This custom is very old and dates back to 1830-1840.


In the area of ​​Olympoi and three kilometers from the village there is a small cave-type cave with remarkable natural decoration of stalactites, which was explored only in 1985 and began to be visited after the year 2000 during the summer season (early May to October). . The road ends at a desolate cape where the only human works are the medieval vigil and the chapel of the Holy Force that accompanies it.

 

Vessa

The village has a traditional architecture with narrow streets. It is an old, medieval settlement, a characteristic village-castle ("castle"). Interesting is the Church of St. Demetrios. The parish church (the "church church"), however, is honored in the name of the Assumption and is celebrated on August 15.