Pyrgi is one of the most beautiful villages on the island of Chios. Its architecture is unique and is something you need to see with your own eyes. It belongs to the Mastihochoria (Mastic Villages), and most of its inhabitants produce mastic or engage in agriculture. Pyrgi took its name after the medieval tower that still stands and has maintained its unique and traditional features.
Pyrgi with Kambos and Mesta is called the jewel of Chios, resulting from its picturesque atmosphere. The buildings are decorated with grey and white geometrical shapes, influenced by the Frankish domination. The village is also known as the “painted village.”
The architecture in medieval villages on this island takes the form of a wall surrounding the small town, as the houses are built next to each other. You can leave your car at the village entrance and walk the stone-paved streets, check the churches and balconies full of colorful flowers.
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Visiting the Painted Village of Pyrgi in Chios
How to get to Pyrgi Village
You can get the bus from the Central bus stop in the town of Chios, and it will take around 50 minutes to get to Pyrgi. Also, check the availability of the scheduled trips as depending on the season, there might be more than three buses a day.
You can take a taxi which will take you there in 25 minutes and costs between 29-35 euros. Prices change depending on the season.
Another option is to hire a car, which is probably the best thing to do if you plan to spend more than five days on the island. Again with a car, you will get to Pyrgi in 25 minutes, and prices vary for different car rentals.
Last but not least, there is the option of riding a bike or hiking, but be aware of the heat and the dangerous roads as there are no sidewalks.
History of Pyrgi Village
It’s one of the biggest islands in Chios, in the south part. It has been added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Legend says that the village was built before the 10th century, and many residents from other villages moved to Pyrgi to avoid pirate attacks. It is mentioned that the town didn’t suffer any damage from the big earthquake in 1881.
In the center, there is a big tower with a height of 18 meters, and around it is walled with four towers in each corner. There are three old churches built in the 15th century Agioi Apostoloi, Koimisis Theotokou, and Taxiarchis. And the three of them are worth a visit to experience the manufacture and the essence of the 15th century.
The architecture was influenced by Italians when the Franks occupied the island. Some historians believe that Christopher Columbus was the descendant of a Genoese family from Pyrgi. Also, there is the belief that he was in the village before he set off across the Atlantic.
He did live in the town and actually if you visit you can see his house. Also, some scholars mentioned that Columbus wrote a letter to the Queen of Spain about mastic and began his discovery travel to new worlds to find out if other places were producing this therapeutic product.
In 1566 the island was under Turkish occupation. The village of Pyrgi was not dependent on the capital of Chios, but it was linked directly with Istanbul. The town and some others were dedicated to the Sultan’s mother, which is why they had to form a separate administrative region.
Where to stay in Pyrgi
The Pounti is located 150 meters from the center of Pyrgi. It is a house of the 14th century and offers self-catering studios and homemade breakfast. Studios feature stone walls and carved wooden furniture. You can get a free bike and cycle around the village.
Traditional Guest House Chrisyis is a two-floor stone house, 150 meters walking distance from the central square. It is a self-catered two-bedroom house with traditional architecture and modern comforts. The neighborhood is peaceful, and the people are friendly.
What to do near Pyrgi, Chios
You can visit the Mastic museum, which is only 3km away. It exhibits how the mastic is produced and the process it needs to become eatable.
Also, you can visit Armolia and Mesta, which belong to the Mastihochoria. Take your camera with you as you will want to take lots of photos, especially if you visit during sunset.
Vroulidia is a beach which is 18 minutes drive from Pyrgi. You will be amazed by the clean blue-green water, it is a virgin beach, and there are no facilities. Also, there is almost no shadow, so ensure you are well prepared. You have to follow the path and get down some stairs to get there, but it is worth it. Also, weekends can get crowded, so make sure you get there very early to reserve your spot.
Pyrgi has lots of cafeterias and traditional tavernas to enjoy local delicacies. Also, there are many souvenir shops, and you can get presents for your friends and family back home. The village is permanently inhabited, so you can visit any time of the year you wish. All the seasons have their beauty, and why not experience the nature changes.