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North Chios

Chio’s eastern shores show an intense fragmentation forming countless bays and coves. Following the coast, initially we pass by Vrontados, Chio’s pretty suburb with the well made houses and the lavish gardens.


Here is where operate the fully organized beaches of Chios, suitable for marine sports. The road passes through the historic site site of Daskalopetra, the teaching post of Homer, from then on the landscape becomes rocky and the coast precipitous. The monastery of Mersinidi to the right, literally leans over the waves. Next the rocks give way to the north we encounter picturesque fishing villages with nice beaches and hospitable taverns.

The main road Hora-Volissos syddenly ascends on the Epos plateau. Once more in front of our eyes unfolds the immense view of Kampos, Chios and the blue Aegean Sea all the way to Asia minor; a majestic sight that makes you think you are on an airplane.


Vrontados

Going north, 5 km. from the city is the suburb of Vrontados, today just an extension of the expanding city. The community is relatively recent and includes a greaer area where most of the houses are owned by people employed in the merchant marine. In their majority the houses are well built with vegetable and flower gardens in between. Vrontados’ symbol is the ’’Unknown Sailor’’ memorial, the work of the well known Chian sculptor Thanasia Apartis. It is located on the shore road, across the Town Hall. In upper Vrontados is the Museum of the Friends of Progress Club, where artifacts of the Chian marine tradition such as ship replicas, wood carvings and old relics are exhibited. In Vrontados’ Lo bay operates one of Chios’ best beaches, organized with modern accomodations for the bathers and marine sports. The beach boasts for its Blue Flag, an honary sign given by the European Union. Here is also the monastery of Ayios Stefanos founded in 1880. Saint Parthenios took the monastery under his protection and rebuilt the church. His memory is celebrated on December 27th.

Next is another beautiful beach, Daskalopetra (Teacher’s Rock) also known as Pasha’s fountain. The area is at the foot of Mount Epos, rich in vegetation and watersprings. Legend has it that blind Homer was left here by sailors of a ship coming from the Erithea coast opposite. Just above there is Daskalopetra, or Daskalio, or Homer’s Rock.


It is a large rock, chiseles the flag on its upper sunface, where Homer stood, the legend goes, to teach, his students. On the rock’s southwest side is a cubic altar with worn our reliefs, 1m. high ans made of that same rock. It is believed to be an archaic plain air sanctuary of goddess. Cybele worshipped by the Phyrgians living across the straits. Leaving Daskalopetra the road ascends, as the shores become rugged. On a plateau not too far to the rightm is the marble tomb of philogist and author Yiannis Psycharis who died in 1929. On the column his verses and inscriptions can be read. From this plateau the visitor can enjoy the excellent view of surrounding scenery, Vrontados and the Asia Minor coast opposite.


As the road continues northbound, we get to the cloister of Mirsinidi also known as Panayia i Mirtidiotisa (Our Lady of the Myrties). Built on the edge of an inclining slope, it almost leans over the waves. It has a history of 100 years and in its vestry can be found relics and other sacred artifacts of Chian history. The landscape takes on a wild beauty, as the road comes dangerously close to the cliffs. We pass the cove of Miliga and that of Agios Ioannis tou Tholou which has a small craft dockyard. Next on line is the bay and community of Pantoukios. Overlooking Pantoukios is Sikiada, a sailor’s community with new and old houses. The name of the village was earned from the fig trees once abundant in the area. On the road to the next village we see Koidianta, an abandoned community. During the German occupation it was a stronghold of the greek Resistance. Today a memorial reminds the young of these heroic Chians.


In 1,5 miles comes to sight the little port of Lagada, built in the middle of a wide fertile gorge. Boats to Inousses depart frequently from here. The area abounds with vegetable gardens, olive and fruit trees and there are some wind mills in the area. The houses are built plain with ceramic roofs. Over Lagada we can barely see Agrelopos. The next cove up is ancient Delfini its mouth obstructes by the islet Tavros in the location Givari- a Latin derived word, meaning fishery. Delfini had all the requirements of a naval base. According to historian Thoucidides, the Athenians stormed Delfini and fortified it, in their attempt to keep an alliance with the Ionian cities and Chios, an ally of Sparta since 411 B.C. It took the Spartians five whole years to recapture Delfini.


Kardamyla The road now continues to Kardamila an ancient Chian community with centuries of uninterrupted life. Ano Kardamila left on the slope where it has always been and Kato Kardamila or Marmaro is the newer, pretty settlement built in the recess of Marmaro Bay. Further on the same shore is Rahi, another new settlement of Kardamila. The denizens of thie area used to be peasants and herders who later turned to the sea. The region is proud for its renown seamen, ship owners too. Unfortunately, in Kardamila only few arifacts of this long history survive. Just before the entrance to ANo Kardamila rises the hill of Gria with ruins of medieval fortifications from three round towers, the precipitous cliff complements the defensive line. There are also marks from an old Hellenistic wall. During the Middle Ages and the Ottoman era, the village was one of Chios’ largest. It played an important role in the Indepedence War of 1821. It is said, this was the only village never captured by the Turks. The architecture is plain here too, old and new houses with ceramic roofs add their difference to the scenery. The Kardamila Friends of Progress Club founded in1979, has raised considerably the cultural level of the village. Important artistic and cultural events are being organized attracting everybody’s interest. Kato Kardamila is progressing touristically, offering the visitor comfortable stay and beautiful old houses for quiet vacations. The fish taverns of the area offer rare seafood delicacies and fresh fish.

Pityos After the Diefcha village we get onto the central road of Hora-Volissos. As we return to Hora another mountain road to our left heads for Kardamila, passing by Pitios village, one of the most important in northern Chios, possesing a medieval character. There, above a cliff rises an uneven but imposing two story tower, surrounded by ruins of a perimeter wall. The village grows out of one side of the tower. We can see the domes and arches of the old houses, realizing that Pitios was built like the medieval houses of the south. Going back to the central road of Hora-Volissos, we try an eastern direction to Hora. We traverse the uncanny, desolate, bald plateau of Epos. There is no sign of life for 25km. The dry land full of rock and dried shrub is interrupted in places by little pockets of young pines, giving a fresh breath of life to the area. The trees have been planted by various Chian agents and other public interest organizations vying to restore the ecisystem. When the plateau near its east border, to the left, the excavations of 1952 have brought to light the remains of an ancient fort- Rimocastro, after which the whole area was named. From the edge of this elevation, about 500 m. above the sea, the view is breathtaking. Then the steep road snakes down to Vrontados and Chios’ suburbs.

Volissos The other road to the north of Katavasi takes to Volissos, the central northern village with the rich ancient history. It is said that Homer once came here to teach Lord Chios’ children. A village location caries the name ’’Homer’s house’’. Thoucidides writes that here was the the old Ionian city of Voliskos. Built on a slope and crowned with an imposing byzantine castle, Volissos impresses the visitor on first sight. Its houses restored to a large extend, have ceramic tile roofs. Narrow alleys paved with the ’liladia’ that is beach pebbles, give a reference point of the village. The castle, according to the legend, was built by byzantine general Velissarius, who wanted to conclude his life here after he was blinded and retired from the battlefields. The castle had towers, turrets, cisterns and churches, though more constructions are being discovered under the ruins of the old houses. In the middle Ages the village enjoyed great vigor and was the wealthy center of northern Chios.

The lace - like western shores of Volissos are forming many beaches, most of which are sandy, ideal for swimming and play with the cool, friendly water. One of them is Managros, where permanent camping for scouts is available. Another beautiful beach, true to its name is Magemena. There follow Lefkathia, Limnos with good food - serving taverns and between the two Limnia, Volissos’ picturesque seaport with fishing boats and skilled fishermen. Here is frequent calique - transportation to the islet Psara opposite. Further north the road ends in another pretty beach where the monastery of Ayia Marcella stands. The sights of her martydom are still discernible. Her memory is celebrated on July 22nd attracting crowds of faithful from all over Greece.





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