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
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
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.
HOW TO GET THERE
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.
WHERE TO GO
1.Chios is the island's capital and main port with 25,000 inhabitants.
It dates from the colonisation by the Iones.
WHAT IS WORTH SEEING -- CHIOS TOWN
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
The Gallery bequethed by Filippos Argientis
The Archaeological Museum.
The National and Popular Museum.
The Justinian Centre.
By Lelia Mitsides.
Copyright: Hellenic Electronic Center
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