Chios is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. It is the fifth largest of the Greek islands. The island is crescent-shaped and 50 km long, north to south. The island is mountainous and arid. There is a ridge of mountains that runs the length of the island. The two largest mountains, Pelineon and Epos, are located at the north end of the island.
Archaeological evidence has shown that there was habitation on the island dating back to the Neolithic era. These sites have primarily been cave dwellings in the north and a settlement, along with a necropolis, in modern-day Emporeio, which is located at the south of the island of Chios.
Chios was one of the original twelve member states of the Ionian League. At the end of the 7th century BC, they would become one of the first to mint coins. They would establish the sphinx as its symbol and this would remain in place for almost 900 years.
In 1881, an earthquake registering 6.5 would hit the island damaging a many of the buildings. But the loss of lives was even greater, thought to be 5,500 – 10,000. Around this time the island of Chios was emerging as a major player in Greek shipping. In 1889, Chios has 440 various sailing ships and 3,050 sailors.
Chios rejoined independent Greece after the First Balkan War in 1912. The Greek Navy liberated Chios in November of that year.
The town of Vrontados has a unique Easter tradition where teams of locals gather at the town’s two “rival” churches and set off tens of thousands of homemade rockets at the other church’s bell tower. They do this as Easter services are going on inside. This tradition is called “rouketopolemos.”
Administrative Region for Chios Island, Greece
Area of Chios Island, Greece
842.3 km2 (325.2 sq mi)
Population of Chios Island, Greece
Top Attractions in Chios Island, Greece
Medieval Castle – Construction began in the 10th century by the Byzantines and was continued by the Venetians during the 16th century. The castle, or fortress, originally enclosed the entire town of Chios. Entrance is through the Central Gate located at the south end.
Agios Markos Monastery – 6 km from Chios Town. It’s high location gives it an amazing view of the surrounding area. The monastery was established in 1886.
Daskalopetra Homerus Stone – A historical spot close to Vrontados. It is said this stone is where Homer would sit and narrate his poems. He was thought to have been blind, so his students would write them down as he spoke.
Karfas Beach – 10 km south of Chios Town. Close to the airport making it one of the busiest tourist areas. A long and organized beach that is family friendly.
Trahili Beach – 20 km west of Chios Town. This beach is found on a secluded bay making it the perfect spot for peace and quiet. The unorganized pebbled beach features beautiful crystal water.
Magemena Beach – Close to Volissos on the northwestern side of the island. The beach is a large cove with thick sand and deep blue water. The area is surrounded by greenery.
Nea Moni Monastery – Located between Karyes and Avgonyma villages. Constructed in the 15th century, it’s one of the oldest monasteries in Greece. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Monument.
Maritime Museum – Housed in a mansion in Chios Town. Takes you through the long nautical history of the island of Chios. Features paintings and models of ships, photographs, and navigation tools.
Byzantine Museum – Located in Chios Town. This museum is housed in a 19th century Ottoman mosque. The museum was founded in 1980. Exhibits date from the early Christian Times until the 17th century and feature items found on the island as well as donations from private collections.
Tigani Makria Ammos – 20 km west of Chios Town on the western side of the island. The beach is secluded and not organized. Features are the surrounding greenery and high cliffs.