The town of Chios is the administrative and cultural center of the island, built in a plain where the ancient town lay. With approximately 30.000 inhabitants, it pieces together most of the commercial and business traffic, but also an important part of cultural activities and entertainment. It is located beside the main harbor and within short distance from the airport. Prokymaia, the busy harbour road, is in the eastern side of the town and provides a relaxing escape to visitors who can enjoy a day or a night out. It is one of the most lively parts of the town and provides lots of alternatives when it comes to nightlife. Also, the Castle, a number of museums, the Korais Library, the Cathedral, the University of the Aegean, Central Square, the Public Garden, Aplotaria, buildings with high architectural value and neighbourhood streets which make everyone wonder about the past form Chios town. There is some traffic and noise though which brings back to reality but no hustle and bustle! Heading north we come across Mylarakia, stone windmills by the sea and the seaside settlement of Vrontados while in the southern the town shares a border with the breathtaking mansions and orchards of Kampos.
The Castle of Chios, known as Frourio which means Fortress, is located behind City Hall and within walking distance of the harbor. Porta Maggiore, built in 1694 by the Venetians, is the main gate of the castle leading to the old city. The castle is well preserved although it has suffered considerable damage and it's one of the few inhabited castles in Greece. The walls are sufficiently maintained and on the inside there are various buildings preserving much of the charm and atmosphere of a bygone era. Plenty historical monuments lie within the Castle such as the Church of St. George, Krya Vrisi and the Ottoman Baths which are remnants of the Turkish occupation, the Kastro Justinian Museum and Koulas which was the core of a series of stone towers named Vigles. It incorporates architectural elements from all periods of the Chian history. Around the small square of Frourio there are cafes and taverns and during the summer months various cultural events take place.
An important landmark of the town is Aplotaria. Located alongside the harbor, it is the center of Chios market and consists of numerous narrow cobblestone streets that host shops and stores. Aplotaria partly preserves its old architecture and was named after the traders that stretched their products on the streets. The Cathedral stands here, built in the late 19th century, dedicated to Saint Minas, Victor and Vincent. The famous library of Korais and the old Junior High School founded in 1792 lie close to the Cathedral.
Centrally located, Vounaki square consists the main part of town. Important administrative buildings like the City Hall and the Prefecture are located around the square as well as cultural ones such as the Homerion Cultural Center, the Byzantine Museum and the Municipal Art Gallery. On one side of the square there is an old Ottoman fountain made with marble. In addition, the marble fountain of Malea Pasha as well as the Memorial to the heroes of the liberation of Chios lie on the square's Northeast side opposite the Public Garden. The square is surrounded by traditional coffee shops and grill restaurants.
Adjacent to Vounaki Square, the Public Garden is full of palm, pine and eucalyptus trees. At the entrance two marble griffins, mythological animals with the head of an eagle and a lion's body, stand proudly comprising the crest of an important family of Kampos. Statues and busts of prominent personalities of the island rise up throughout the garden whereas the bronze statue of Constantine Kanaris stands in the middle. Under his command forces destroyed the flagship of the Turkish admiral Kara-Ali Pasha on the night of June 6th/June 7th, 1822 in revenge for the Chios Massacre. In the Garden there is a playground and a cafeteria which runs throughout the year. During the summer months an outdoor cinema is another option the Garden offers with a varied programme. Furthermore, the festival of agrotourism takes place in the Garden for a few days where traditional agricultural products are displayed to the visitors.
Homerion Cultural Center
This is a multipurpose building that consists of an auditorium, a conference hall, galleries as well as teaching and rehearsal rooms. The Homerion Cultural Centre supports artistic and scientific trends and in the workshops specialists teach lessons of traditional music, theater, photography, painting, mosaic art etc. The Center was founded in 1980 thanks to the generous donation of Michael and Stamatia Xylas.
Municipal Art Gallery
The Municipal Gallery of Chios is housed in the magnificent architectural building of the old Public Baths, built in 1954. Its halls display remarkable works of the great painter John Mitarakis, paintings of Nicholas Diomataris's family collection and of other contemporary artists. The Municipal Gallery houses exhibitions of paintings, sculpture, photography, etc. It hosts art activities addressing to students, too.
One of the oldest and largest libraries of Greece (third in number of collections and books) is the library of Adamantios Korais. Korais was a great Greek scholar, an important representative of the Greek Enlightenment and the inspirator of the library. The library was founded in 1792 by the orthodox school board of Chios and the first books were donated from Adamantios Korais and a number of literate people. Also, plenty of important families of Chios have offered collections of books to the library which now disposes more than 150,000 tomes
Most of the museums of the island can be found in the heart of the city. The Byzantine Museum stands opposite Vounaki Square and so does the magnificent building of the old municipal baths where the Municipal Art Gallery is housed at the entrance of Aplotaria Str. The impressive buildings of the Maritime Museum and the Korais Library which includes the Argenti Folk Museum are located close to Aplotaria Str. The Korais Library is one of the largest and most important libraries in Greece. The three-storey building of the Archaeological Museum rises up near the Port and inside the castle there is the Justinian Museum.
Heading north, the area of Tampakika with the old buildings was the industrial region of the island. Stone windmills stretching out to the sea used to serve the tanning factories by grinding plaster. Today, four restored windmills are one of the most distinctive images of the island.
made with in Chios