There are 9 villages in the southern Chios that they are built like castles, The Mastic Villages or Medieval Villages. Their main purpose was to house the families of those cultivated the mastic trees and also protect the residents and the production of mastic from pirates. The Municipality of Mastichochora is based in Pyrgi and includes nine villages: Pyrgi, Mesta, Olympi, Elata, Lithi, Vessa Armolia, Kalamoti and Patrika. Whichever you will visit it will fascinate you and will take you back in time in a away so magical and unrepeatable. The best preserved are Pyrgi, Olympi and Mesta.
Before you arrive at Pyrgi, stop off in Armolia. Armolia is a village mainly known on the island for the pottery – pots, cups, “Bourboulia”, jars etc. There, on the main road you will find many shops and workshops with clay ornaments. Look for the last potter on the row of the shops who is willing to show you his art and talk to you about it and its history.
Pyrgi is called the “painted village”, due to the elaborate decorative motifs on the facades of the houses, known as “scratch” and it is 25 kilometers from the city of Chios. It is worth visiting the Byzantine church of St. Apostles which is copy of Nea Moni.
Olympoi are after Pyrgi and they are located 30 km from Chios town. It is worth visiting the church of Agia Paraskevi on the main square with the wooden temple and the Bank of Olympoi, a two-storey building with elongated rooms preserved from the Middle Ages in good condition.
From Olympoi village you can go visit the cave of Sykia with its impressive stalactites and stalagmites. The cave of Olympoi is visited by tourist guide accompaniment, from early May until late September. Open daily 11 am – 6 pm, except Mondays.
The most well-preserved of the Mastic Villages is Mesta, located 35 km southwest of Chios town. It is the furthest from the medieval villages from the city of Chios. It is built like a maze and to walk through the narrow streets under the arches forming balconies it is like journey back in the 14th century. You should visit the church of Old Taxiarchis with its wooden temple which is considered an elaborate sample of Chian wood carving.
In Mesta you will find some taverns, but if you want to have lunch overlooking the sea you can continue to the Port of Mesta. There you will find 2 taverns with seafood and fresh fish.
Do not leave Mesta without tasting traditional Mestousiko wine and Souma. Souma can be drunk like ouzo and is made in the range of distillation of figs and grapes.
If you want something sweet, ask for Doughnuts Kanells