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Pyrgi, Pirgi, Chios
The village of Pyrgi on Chios

These two pictures are made in Pyrgi, one of the three most attractive mastic villages on the island. When going through the pictures I found out that there are a lot of beautiful places on Chios. The mastic villages are very impressive, the touristic attraction of the island, yet they are deserted. In total there are 20 mastic villages (mastichochoria) in the south of Chios. The mastic bushes secrete a kind of wax (like pine trees do) that, before the arrival of products on the basis of crude oil, was used for paint, cosmetics and medicines. It has a fresh-bitter taste, a medicinal functioning and one says that it makes the teeth white. Mastic had been harvested since the middle ages and had been popular in the harems. Now the mastic is mainly used for the production of chewing gum, liquor and toothpaste. The villages have been the only ones saved from the massacre of 1822. These confirm to suspicion that the massacre of Chios possibly took place on to behalf of the haremladies of the sultan, who were so addicted to chewing mastic. The insurrection of Chios in Constantinopel had made them very upset: mastic production had to go on at any cost.

Each summer approximately 300 barrels of mastic are won and after that you can buy chewing-gum and toothpaste with mastic everywhere on Chios. The mastic villages are all build in the same way: reinforced towers, flat roofs, a square tower in the centre of the village and especially designed streets. Pyrgi is the mastic capitol and in the centre there are splendid mosaic houses. From top to bottom they are covered with naturelcolored and white geometrical flower patterns. The villages lie on approximately 28 km van Chios-town. The villages Vessa, Mesta and Olympoi are certainly also a visit worth.


Hans Huisman, Peter Hendriks, http://www.angelfire.com/super2/greece/ 2014
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