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Chios with Oinousses & Psara

By Nigel McGilchrist

Series selected as Books of the Year by Bettany Hughes and by The Economist

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Grand and solitary, rich in architecture and flora, Chios is more than any island in the Aegean a world to itself. The refined mosaics of the great 11th century church of Nea Moni are amongst the most important in Greece. Unique to the south of Chios are the house-fronts decorated in grey and white designs in sgraffito technique, which constitute such an attractive aspect of the Mastic Villages. (The harvesting of mastic gum has never been successfully replicated anywhere else in the Mediterranean). In the Kampos area to the south of the city are beautiful stone villas, farmsteads and orchards built by the Genoese settlers in the 18th century. Chios has an open, rugged and dramatic coast, with some of the wildest highlands of the Aegean in its interior. Oinousses still feels like a forgotten frontier. Its peacefulness, the wide views into Turkey and to Chios and the dense and unusually varied vegetation of its garrigue are its greatest attractions. Psara is an island where visitors are not often seen. It has two interesting historic sites: the Mycenaean settlement at Archontiki and the fine Monastery of the Dormition.

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