Chios is an island of Eastern Aegean. It abstains a few kilometres from Asia Minor's beaches. It's the fifth largest of the Greek islands and belongs to the cluster of islands that exist in the Eastern Aegean. This cluster also includes Lesbos, Lemnos, η Samos, Ikaria and Ayios Efstratios. Chios Prefecture includes the smaller islands of Oinousses, Psara and Antipsara. The island is noted for its strong merchant shipping community, its unique mastic gum, oil, figs and wine.
"Chios" is also the name of the island's main town and administrative centre, although locals refer to it as "Hora" ("Χώρα" literally means land or country, but usually the name given to the capital or a settlement at the highest point of a Greek island). The island has ten municipalities. Those are the municipalities of Agios Minas, Amani, Ionia, Kabohorion, Kardamilon, Mastihohorion, Oinousses, Omiroupoli, Chios and Psara. The largest is the munjicipality Mastihohorion that is occupied almost the entire south department of the island and consists of the following villages: Mesta, Olympi, Pyrgi, Elata, Lithi, Bessa, Armolia, Kalamoti and Patrika. Its main town is Pyrgi. Based on population, the biggest mulicipality is the municipality of Chios. This municipality has 52 villages.
The older myths report that the name "Chios" emanates from Chioni that was nymph and daughter of the first King of Chios, Oinopionas. Apart from Chioni, the fatherhood of Chios claims another mythic person, Chios, that was son of Ocean or Neptune. Chios was named like that because at his birth fell a lot of snow (in Greek, snow called chioni -χιόνι-). According to the historian writer - geographer Isidoros, Syrians called the gum as Chios.
Chios is the capital city of the prefecture. It is a single seat of the municipal district municipality Chios. It is a city of 23,779 residents, which is built in the middle of the east side of the island, geared towards the peninsula of Asia Minor in Eritrea.
Its strategic location is important, as it is the narrowest passage in the northern Aegean. For this reason it was developed very early. The island was inhabited from the depths of centuries and the oldest evidences come from the Early Bronze Age. Excavations have brought to light findings that indicate a large prosperous city, as mentioned in Herodotus. It was Ionian city, with theater, a huge port for 80 ships and a large temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. Today, it is generally accepted that Homer was from Chio and lived in it in the 8th century BC.
The later city was built with neoclassical buildings, with clear influences from nearby Smyrna. The city today has the characteristics of any other modern city, but retains some features from its past. Among them, the old mosque with a tall minaret, where nowadays is hosted the Byzantine Museum, the neoclassical high school of Chios (formerly School of Chios, which functioned in 1792-1822), the imposing neoclassical Korai Library, etc.
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