• Chios
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The Mastic Villages

The Mastic Villages

Further inland, in the southern part of the island, lie the so-called masticochoria (mastic villages). These well-preserved, fortified villages date from the 14th-16th centuries and were centres for the cultivation of mastic. Mastic is the sweet-tasting gum of the lentisk bush, which was exported all over the Mediterranean – and the area still produces around 300 tonnes of mastic every year. The most picturesque villages are Pyrgi, with its houses decorated in black and white geometric patterns called xysta Mesta, where towers and walls surround a baffling labyrinth of village streets as well as Olympoi and Vessa are all a worth a visit.
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