Anavatos or otherwise the “Mystras of the Aegean” used to be an abandoned medieval settlement located 16 km from the city of Chios, but in the past years Greeks and foreigners have begun either returning there and renovating ruined houses or buying local properties thus breathing life to the once forgotten village.
One might be confused at the beginning as the way the settlement was built makes visitors think it is carved on the rock and so is part of it. It lies on the top of a steep hill of 450 meters, and the “ascent” (as its name implies, “anavasi” which in Greek means “ascent”) is difficult but is worth the sweating. The founding of Anavatos dates back to the Middle Byzantine times and according to tradition it was created by the workers who arrived in Chios for the construction of the Nea Moni and for defensive purposes. Most of the Anavatos residents were massacred in 1822 by the Turks, while the great earthquake of 1881 had a disastrous effect to the buildings. Although there are only a few permanent residents during winter, most of its stone houses are well-preserved.
At the hilltop you can see the Castle with its densely built houses, and an outside enclosure with a gate on the north. You can also see the so-called “Three-storey”, which consists of an olive oil processing factory, a school, a tank and the Church of Holy Mary as well as the Great Taxiarchis, the only building visible from far away.
Anavatos is an ideal destination for walking as its picturesque stone alleys and the steep uphill offer stunning views to the sea and the surrounding landscape. Do combine your excursion here with a visit to nearby places of interest such as Nea Moni and Avgonima.
This gorgeous medieval village named Avgonima is located in central Chios overlooking the west part of Northern Aegean.
According to the tradition, it was built at an altitude of 500 meters by craftsmen who had come to Chios for the construction of the Nea Moni. Houses are made of stone and windows are few and tiny so that locals would protect themselves from pirate raids during the Middle Ages. However, the local style and the overall architecture is religiously preserved to this day.
Avgonima is a destination that you must definitely include in your tour as, during sunset, the view to the sea, combined with the beautiful pine forest of Provatas, will leave you breathless. Buy various local products from the producers living there and if not in the mood for a meal, then do give Greek coffee and local “spoon sweets” a go.