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When you step into the streets of Mesta Chios, it’s like being transported back in time. This traditional mastic village is located on the island of Chios, Greece, and is home to a well-preserved medieval castle. For centuries, the villagers have been harvesting mastic, a natural resin with a variety of uses, which has helped to keep this village alive and thriving.
As you wander through the streets of Mesta, you’ll be charmed by the whitewashed homes with brightly-colored shutters and doors. And if you’re lucky enough to be here during the harvest season (August to October), you’ll be treated to the sights and smells of mastic being gathered and processed. It’s truly a unique experience!
History of Mesta Chios.
Mesta was founded in the 13th century by Byzantine refugees who were fleeing from the Turks. They were given this land by the Marquis de Névé, and they built a strong fortification to protect themselves from future invasions. For centuries, life in Mesta carried on relatively unchanged. Then, in 1822, the Greeks revolted against the Turks, and many residents of Mesta lost their lives in battle.
The Turkish population of Mesta was also forced out during this time, and their homes were given to Greek families from other parts of the country. As a result, today almost everyone in Mesta is related by blood or marriage! This close-knit community is one of the things that makes Mesta such a special place.
The villagers have always made their living off the land, and they are especially well-known for their production of mastic. In fact, this village produces more mastic than any other place in the world! If you’re not familiar with mastic, it’s a natural resin that is harvested from trees and used in a variety of products, including cosmetics, food, medicine, and even chewing gum.
During the harvest season (August to October), you’ll see men scaling the mastic trees and making small cuts in order to release the resin. After it’s collected, it’s brought to a central location where it’s cleaned and sorted before being shipped off to be used in all sorts of products!
If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating process, there are several mastic museums in Mesta that are worth checking out.
An important event taking place.
The “Agas” trials, a satirical recreation of the trials that used to take place during the Turkish occupation, are presented during the Carnival festivities as the village’s most important annual event. This event is also held in other villages, including Olympoi and Lithi.
How to reach Mesta.
The bus will take you to Mesta in an hour and twelve minutes from the Central bus stop in the town of Chios. Check the availability of the scheduled trips as well, as there may be more than three buses per day depending on the season. A taxi will take you there in 35 minutes and will cost between 29 and 35 euros. Prices vary according to the season.
Another option is to rent a car, which is probably the best option if you plan to stay on the island for more than five days – a week. Again, a car will get you to Mesta in 35 minutes, and prices for different car rentals vary.
Finally, you can also consider riding a bike or a motorcycle. The route might give you more sightseeing options and much more travel freedom!
Mesta is a village that is rich in history and culture. From its founding by Byzantine refugees to its role in the Greek Revolution of 1822, this village has seen its fair share of turmoil. However, its residents have always persevered thanks to their close-knit community and their reliance on mastic production.
If you find yourself on the island of Chios, be sure to add Mesta to your list of places to visit. You won’t be disappointed!