Excursion to central Chios

KARYES-NEA MONI-ANAVATOS-AVGONIMA. We will start from the Chios city center and head to the west to visit the island’s byzantine and medieval cultural heritage. After traveling for approximately 6 km, we will pass Karya village, which is famous in Chios for its spring water, its climate and beautiful views of the city, Kampos and the Asia Minor coasts. Our first stop will be Nea Moni, which is considered to be the most important Byzantine monument on the island and is listed as a monument that are under the protection of UNESCO World Heritage. It was founded in the 11th century and holds a special place because of its art, and because of its direct relationship with Constantinople and the imperial court. According to monastic tradition, Emperor Constantine Monomachus funded the construction of the monastery after the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary was discovered by the three Chian monks Nikitas, Ioannis and Iosif in the current location of the monastery. For many centuries it was the religious and economic center of the island, since it was also respected by the Genoese and the Turks. The decline started in the 19th century with financial difficulties in the beginning only to be followed by the destruction of 1822. The mosaics of Nea Moni rank among the most significant creations of Byzantine art, thanks to their excellent quality and the fact that they are works by artists associated with the largest workshops in Constantinople. The next stop is at the medieval village of Anavatos, which is located 16 km from the city center of Chios and is considered as the "Mystras of the Aegean". The village is built on a rocky hill with steep slopes, perpendicular to the south and west and a sole entry to the north. The natural fortification and location suggest that it was initially built for defense purposes to control of the western coast during the age of piracy. Today the village does not have more than 10 residents. Its homes (narrow façades with the floor made of gray sandy soil and wooden horizontal roof) are maintained to this day and give the appearance of a ghost town. Heading away from Anavatos we continue our tour to the medieval village of Avgonyma, with low stone houses and church in the village square. Lunch at a traditional restaurant and return to the city of Chios.