The range of attractions and sights in Chios is almost endless and is sure to please both first-time visitors and returning fans of the island. The many unique speciality Chios museums are among the top things to do on Chios so we prepared a list of our favourite museums.
Chios Maritime Museum: Lighthouse of Culture
Photo credit: Wondergreece
The Chios Maritime Museum, an old dream of many Chians, is the result of a private initiative. Its main aim is to illustrate with historical and cultural evidence the long-lasting and passionate relationship of Chios with the sea. At the same time the museum aims to promote the naval tradition of Chios with exhibitions, lectures, conferences and cooperation with corresponding institutions of the Aegean.
The Museum is housed in the centre of the city, in the traditional mansion of the Anastasius and Maroukos Fathers. The building was donated for this purpose by his heirs in 1991 to the homonymous public benefit institution. This mansion is a 19th-century building, a neoclassical island style with unique wall paintings and characteristic interventions in the interiors and the garden. It hosts the exhibits in a harmonious and authentic environment.
The primary objective of the Museum is to illustrate the maritime tradition of Chios by collecting historical information related to the shipping tradition of the region. It collaborates with organizations, organizations and associations of the island, creating educational programs and guided tours that promote the naval tradition of Chios. For three years the museum has been publishing the magazine “Nautilus”, which introduces the local and Greek naval history as well as the Museum’s activities.
Among the rich exhibits of this signature Chios Museum, the visitor can admire the works of the Chios Shipwright, Glyca; one of the real knives and handwheel of firefighter Konstantinos Kanaris; ship models such as Christopher Columbus’s “Santa Maria” and “Liberty”, as well as other merchant cargo ships and a number of naval instruments and forms. “Santa Maria” and “Liberty” were acquired after the Second World War by Greek shipowners and contributed greatly to the rise of Greek merchant shipping.
Also, in the courtyard of the Museum stands the memorial of lost merchants of the merchant navy – sailors who lost their lives from wartime actions during the Second World War, offered by the Vrontadoussion Association of Attica. On the Museum floor, there is a library with a reading room for studying the large collection.
Chios Mastic Museum
Surrounded by mastic trees and in perfect harmony with the natural environment, the Museum of Mastiha in Chios aims to highlight the productive history of the cultivation and the treatment of mastic, which it integrates with the cultural landscape of Chios. The traditional mastic cultivation was placed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humankind in 2014. It put an emphasis is placed on the continuity and sustainability of this Chian product.
Visiting the exhibition, the visitor will experience the traditional cultivation of mastic, its history and culture through a multifaceted experiential experience. He can touch and smell mastic, understand the architecture, history and social organization of Mastichochoria, learn about the cooperative exploitation and processing of mastiha, and about the ways in which he travels around the world today. This is achieved through multimedia applications, documentary films, models and original machines in operation, but also through the outdoor exhibition, where the visitor comes into contact with the plant and the natural environment in which it thrives.
Photo credit: Definitely Greece
The Chios Citrus Museum is one of the most unique Chios museums. It is a place where memories and documents and stories of Citrus history are hosted. It is a dynamic exhibition space at the bottom of a mansion where you can find out about:
- the cultivation of citrus fruits throughout different seasons; the tools and methods of production, the habits and cultivation practices, the varieties and the particular elements that make mandarins and other fruits so unique.
- the people who played a central role in the flowering of the unique myth of Chian Mandarins and other fruits, from the Genoese, the traders who travelled them to the world’s markets, the growers, the caretakers and, of course, the rulers of Kampos.
- the commercial process from the beginning of the 15th century to Constantinople and Smyrna, the unique packaging of goods and the fruit mapping, the commercial roads known to date, which made the citrus fruits of Chios a luxury in the European markets until the end of the 20th century.
- the vast area of Kampos, with the unique mansions and the surrounding walls, the orchards, the well and the other elements of the area that have given it unique architectural fame throughout Europe.
- the history of the region through a short film, where the residents of the area narrate the story behind the citrus trade rise and fall.
Chios Archaeological Museum
Photo credit: Despina A. Tsardaka
The Archaeological Museum of Chios, as a building, is a representative example of the architecture of the 60s (visible concrete and glass panels on the walls), combining the local element of red stone from Thymiana village.
After its renovation, in 2000, its archaeological treasures were re-exhibited, with a modern museological program. The permanent exhibition of the Archaeological finds of the Museum, titled “Chios the only city of Oinopion”, includes representative samples of Art and everyday life in Chios from the Mycenaean period to the late Roman Empire.
The exhibition includes findings from the excavations of the English School of Archeology at Ag. Galas, Emporio, Dothia and Fana, from the excavations of Nikolaos Kontoleton in Rizari and the rescue excavations of Epirus, mainly in the city of Chios. It also includes objects that were carefully cared for by the extraordinary curator of Antiquities Antonios Stefanou in the 60s – 70s, as well as objects traditionally delivered by citizens of Chios.
Architectural members and inscriptions, as well as the restoration of a unique Macedonian tomb, found in the Frangomachalas area, are exhibited in the museum’s arcades.
There is also a periodic exhibition hall, hosting the findings from the Mycenaean cemetery at Archontiko of Psara.
Kallimasia Folklore Museum
Photo credit: MuseumFinder
The collection of folklore material that forms the basis of the Chios Kallimasia Folklore Museum began in 1995. The President of the association “Friends of the Folkloric Museum of Kallimasia” and its members started off in the basement of a gymnasium. The gymnasium covered a total area of 550 sqm. Initially, with the help of fellow villagers, they set up the loutrouvio (olive mill) and the rebikario (ouzo distillery).
Then, they built with traditional stone spaces for most of the old professions of the island such as the barberiko (hairdresser), the wax maker, the horseshoe maker, the saddle maker, the butcher, the tailor, the shoemaker, the traditional mini market of the time and a replica of the traditional house and more.