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Greece is well-known for its stunning islands, crystal-clear waters, and endless sunny days. But did you know that the Greek island of Chios is home to something absolutely unique? On the southwestern coast of the island, you’ll find three mastic villages like Pyrgi Chios, Kalamoti, and Mesta, that have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These villages are famous for their production of mastic, a resin that has been used for centuries in everything from medicine to cosmetics.
If you’re planning a trip to Greece anytime soon, be sure to add Pyrgi to your itinerary! In this article, we’ll explore what makes this village so special and give you a few tips on how to make the most of your visit. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.
A Brief History of Mastic on Pyrgi Chios.
Mastic has been cultivated on the island of Chios since at least the 15th century. The mastic trees that grow here produce resin with unique medicinal properties that can be used in a variety of ways. For centuries, locals have been harvesting this resin and putting it to good use.
Mastic was so valuable that it was even used as currency at one point in time. In fact, the mastic villages were built using money from the sale of mastic. Today, mastic is still an important part of life on Chios Island. It’s used in everything from food and drink to cosmetics and medicine.
The Mastiha Villages were given special rights after the Ottomans seized the island in 1566 because they were deemed to be of such importance. The Valide Sultana, the Sultan’s mother, provided Pyrgi with unparalleled status, including administrative autonomy and direct accountability to the Sublime Porte. Although the vast amount of mastic that this lovely community produces is what makes it famous, residents also work in horticulture, and tourism and there is even a Women’s Handicraft Society.
Some historians claim that Christopher Columbus was descended from a Genoese family from Pyrgi, while others have demonstrated that he was stationed at Chios prior to his transatlantic voyage. In any event, he did spend some time in Pyrgi and Chios.
Why You Should Visit Mastic Villages.
Pyrgi, Kalamoti, and Mesta are collectively known as the “Mastichochoria” or “Mastic Villages.” These picturesque villages are located on the southwestern coast of Chios Island and offer visitors a chance to step back in time and experience traditional Greek culture, its products, and food firsthand.
When you visit the mastic villages, you’ll notice that the buildings are all whitewashed with black trim. This distinct style is known as “Xystos,” and it’s unique to this part of Greece. The villages are also adorned with intricate geometric patterns called “genitsaria.” These patterns were once used to ward off evil spirits, something that was very important to the people who lived here centuries ago.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history and culture of these villages, there are several museums located nearby that are definitely worth a visit. The Archaeological Museum of Pyrgi houses artifacts from the Bronze Age up through the Byzantine period, while the Folklore Museum of Mesta offers visitors a look at traditional rural life on Chios Island. No matter what you’re interested in, there’s sure to be something for everyone in these incredible villages.
How to reach Pyrgi Chios?
The bus to Pyrgi departs from the Central Bus Stop in the town of Chios and takes approximately 50 minutes. 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 25 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. Again, a car will get you to Pyrgi in 25 minutes, and prices for different car rentals vary.
Visit Pyrgi During Your Next Trip to Greece!
Pyrgi is just one of many charming villages located on beautiful Chios Island. When planning your next trip to Greece, be sure to add Pyrgi and its two sister villages to your itinerary. You won’t be disappointed!