
// AUGUST 2017
Hidden Secrets
Athens
Chios
Vrontados
Pantoukios
Lagkada
Marmaro
Kardamyla
Chios
Karies
Nea Moni of Chios
Avgonima
Anavatos
Lithi
Vessa
Agios Georgios Sikousis
Chios
Armolia
Pyrgi
Mesta, Greece
Olympoi
Mastic Museum
Volcano Beach Chios
Mesta
Limenas
Sidirounta
Volissos
Moni Agias Markellas
Epos
Vrontados
Chios
Oinousses
Athens
Mesta

Mesta


6/12/2017
Precious treasure for the whole world!!!

We woke up in a wonderful mood and, after taking breakfast, we went out to explore the narrow roads of the village in daylight.

We had been in awe and admiration by its nocturnal and fairy tail beauty, but an early morning walk would allow us to get acquainted with this amazing castle/village, while photographing its mythical secrets and treasuring the unique experience of our visit.
 


 

We knew already a few things about this exceptional Mastic Village, since we had spoken with some of his inhabitants the previous night at the central square’s bar and, more over, we had read a few things too, as far as its history, before our visit.

ΤMesta is a medieval castle/village located 35 km southwest of Chios. It is one of the 21 mastic villages added in representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO. Its particular medieval architecture, which is still perfectly preserved through the centuries, makes it one of the most impressive places in the whole island of Chios.
 


The village was built during Byzantine era and its street plan is pentagonical. There are only two entrances to it. The stone houses are built attached one to another, forming a fortified wall. The ones on the outside side of the village have no external windows, something that results to strengthening the already solid fortification. The very narrow cobbled alleys, are winding around the houses, creating a real labyrinth.
 


The very particular architecture of the village, which has been planned and built as a maze, was serving one main purpose: to prevent the pirate raiding parties from reaching easily the most important buildings located in the centre of Mesta and stealing the precious mastic. Later on, the fortification was also preventing the village from Turkish attacks. The fortification was reinforced during Genoa era in Chios and the conquerors at the time had included within the fortified main village several minor settlements.  
 


 

There are two churches of significant historical interest in the village: The church of Palaios (meaning old) Taxiarchis with its excellent wood carved iconostasis (1833) and the church of Big Taxiarchis with its impressive belltower, known till today as the central tower of the village. The church is ornamented with hundreds of precious offerings by the devoted Orthodox Christians.
 


The customs of the village, shared also by the nearby Mastic Villages of Pyrgi and Olympoi, are of great cultural interest too.

The custom of “Agas”

This tradition has its roots to the Turkish Occupation and it appeared at around 1830-1840)

It is a satirical replica of the trials that used to take place under the Turkish Occupation, when the Turkish judges (“kadides”) where punishing the people of Chios even for non-existing violations of the law.
 


 

Every year, on Green Monday (or Clean Monday, which is the first day of Great Lent throughout Eastern Christianity) the “Agas” invades Mesta with his entourage, takes his sit on the central square of the village and starts the “trials”.

He distributes fines, depending on what offences he believes the villagers are guilty for, while holding a plastic bat and enjoying all heartedly his role, since he knows that afterwards it will be his turn for a trial too!

All the villagers are bound to pay fines for their offenses and the custom is always a reason for celebration. Usually many Lent delicacies are offered to the ones who participate and they are all accompanied with plenty of suma, the local strong drink.  

The torches of Holy Saturday

The “Burning of Judas Iscariot”, in the evening of Holy Saturday, is one of the most popular traditions of the Mastic Villages. The custom has its roots to Paganism but in Christianity it symbolizes the triumph of life over death during the Resurrection. It is also strongly connected with bringing justice, since Judas the Traitor has a tortured death and exemplary punishment.

In the evening of Holy Saturday, all the men of the village collect woods, light up torches and gather them at the square of the village or at the yard of the church, where a replica of Judas will be burnt.
 


 

The useful information helped us a lot to move around the village, to photograph its unique beauties and also to understand how significant is the cultural heritage which consists this magical place, where time has stopped in the distant Middle Ages, not only for us Greeks but for the whole humanity…

We realized, first hand, how much the inhabitants of Mesta love their place and do whatever is possible to preserve, often at their own expenses, the very particular character of their extremely significant medieval village. We believe that the state owes to strengthen this private efforts with financial funds (especially when it comes to the preservation of the amazing church of Palaios Taxiarchis) and to take actions that will make widely known, globally known, this real monument of universal heritage…

After having taken photos of almost every corner of the village of Mesta, since we wanted to share our unique experience with you, we left the village and took the road which leads to a place of almost equal historical and cultural significance, the village of Olympoi.

Country: Greece
Date: 2017
Route: Greece : Chios Island - Oinousses
Cities: Athens, Chios, Vrontados, Pantoukios, Lagkada, Marmaro, Kardamyla, Chios, Karies, Nea Moni of Chios, Avgonima, Anavatos, Lithi, Vessa, Agios Georgios Sikousis, Chios, Armolia, Pyrgi, Mesta, Greece, Olympoi, Mastic Museum, Volcano Beach Chios, Mesta, Limenas, Sidirounta, Volissos, Moni Agias Markellas, Epos, Vrontados, Chios, Oinousses, Chios, Athens
Duration: 7
Difficulty:
Population: Chios: 53.199
Rating:
comments
VIEW
comments
VIEW
Country: Greece
Date: 2017
Route: Greece : Chios Island - Oinousses
Cities: Athens, Chios, Vrontados, Pantoukios, Lagkada, Marmaro, Kardamyla, Chios, Karies, Nea Moni of Chios, Avgonima, Anavatos, Lithi, Vessa, Agios Georgios Sikousis, Chios, Armolia, Pyrgi, Mesta, Greece, Olympoi, Mastic Museum, Volcano Beach Chios, Mesta, Limenas, Sidirounta, Volissos, Moni Agias Markellas, Epos, Vrontados, Chios, Oinousses, Chios, Athens
Duration: 7
Difficulty:
Population: Chios: 53.199
Rating:
comments
VIEW
Country: Greece
Date: 2017
Route: Greece : Chios Island - Oinousses
Cities: Athens, Chios, Vrontados, Pantoukios, Lagkada, Marmaro, Kardamyla, Chios, Karies, Nea Moni of Chios, Avgonima, Anavatos, Lithi, Vessa, Agios Georgios Sikousis, Chios, Armolia, Pyrgi, Mesta, Greece, Olympoi, Mastic Museum, Volcano Beach Chios, Mesta, Limenas, Sidirounta, Volissos, Moni Agias Markellas, Epos, Vrontados, Chios, Oinousses, Chios, Athens
Duration: 7 days
Difficulty:
Population: Chios: 53.199
Rating:
comments
VIEW