• The island of Omiros (Homer)!
  • The island of masticha!
  • Columbus's dream island.

    The island with the beautiful beaches, the pinewoods, the citrus trees, the vineyards, the olive trees, the big impressive mansions, the medieval villages. Geographically Chios lies to the south of the island of Lesvos, north of the island of Samos, and 9 nautical miles from the western coast of the port of Tsesme in Turkey.


      THE island was first inhabited in the neolithic times around 3000 BC by Pelasgoi from Thessaly, Kares from Karia, Leleges from the opposite coast of Asia Minor and Avantes from Evoia. According to Greek Mythology at about 2000 BC the Cretans settled on the island and the island's name comes from Chioni, daughter of Oinopoionas, grandson of Minos. According to mythology Oinopoionas was the son of the god Dionyssus and Ariadni, the daughter of King Minos of Crete. Oinopoionas was the king of Chios. According to the myth when Orion arrived on the island he was offered hospitality in the king's palace. He fell in love with the king's beautiful daughter Meropi and asked her hand in marriage. However the king was reluctant to have him as a son-in-law and got him drunk, blinded him, and ordered that he be thrown to the coast of the island. The blinded Orion however did not lose his courage and asked a child to direct him eastwards.So when the sun came out the sun's benevolent rays gave him his sight again. Orion returned to the island in order to take revenge. However Poseidon hid Oinopoionas in a secluded copper room in the depth of the earth and Orion could not find him.

      Orion was a giant and a hunter, son of Poseidon and Evriali, or according to another version born directly from the earth as were most of the giants. According to the myth he was killed by the goddess Artemis when he tried to rape her. Another story tells us that Asclipios tried to revive him but Zeus killed Asclipios with lightning. After his death Orion became a star in the sky. It is actually the brightest one and you can see it with naked eye. It is 10,000 light years away from us.

      Concerning the stories of Oinopoionas the writers Ion and Theopompos, both from Chios, say that he gave the vineyards to the island. Anyway his name Oino-poion means litterally "wine-maker".

      Concerning his genealogy the reader is reminded of the story of Theseus, who after killing the Minotaur in Crete and escaping from the Labyrinth thanks to Ariadne's mitos (string), took her away with him. However during a stop at Naxos island he deserted her there when she was asleep. Dionyssus, the god of wine and entertainment, saw her there asleep, fell in love with her and married her. Oinopoionas was one of the children of this marriage . Another was Thoas, king of the island of Limnos.

      About the 9th century BC, the Iones settled on the island which was developed both in commerce and in shipping. At the same time as the island accumulated wealth, it also flourished culturally. Sculpture and poetry flourished.

      Chios claims to be the birthplace of Omiros, (Homer), the greatest of the Greek poets, and its claim is very strong.

      The Persians destroyed the island in 493 BC. After that Chios joined the Athenian alliance and peace reigned on the island until the Peloponnesian Wars. Thereafter the island's history followed that of the other Aegean islands -- the first Christian years, then the Byzantine years when it belonged to the Aegean issue, until the end of the 13th century when sovereignty passed to the Genoese.

      In 1566 the island was conquered by the Turks. In 1822 the Turks massacred almost all the island's population, an event which horrified the Western world. The island was reunited with Hellas in 1912.

      Chios is the birthplace of great men both in antiquity and in modern times. It is also a traditionally maritime island and the birthplace of many big families in shipping. Its maritime tradition, old as it is, is also underlined by the fact that Colombus the great traveller and explorer, took from Chios the maritime maps which assisted him in his voyages and his discovery of America.


      BY AIR from Athens all the year round. Total time 50 minutes (Olympic Airways tel. 9363363 Athens)
      BY FERRYBOAT from Pireus all the year. Total distance 153 miles (10 hours). Pireus port tel. 4226000-Agencies tel 4177453

      From Rafina all the year, total time 6 hours 45 min.

      Chios is connected by air with Salonika and Mytilini.

      BY FERRY all the year round Chios is connected with Limnos, Mytilini, Kavalla, Salonika, Volos, Ayios Efstratios, Psara, Oinousses, Samos, Skyros, and all the Dodekanese islands, and also with Tsesme in Turkey.


      1.Chios is the island's capital and main port with 25,000 inhabitants. It dates from the colonisation by the Iones.

      The castle, built in the 10th century AD, where you can also see the tomb of Kara Ali who was responsible for the massacre of 1822.
      The Korais Library, one of the biggest in Greece with 95,000 books.
      The Gallery bequethed by Filippos Argientis
      The Kambos.
      The Archaeological Museum.
      The Byzantium.
      The National and Popular Museum.
      The Justinian Centre.

    By Lelia Mitsides.
    Copyright: Hellenic Electronic Center
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