Let’s take a trip back a few centuries, and discover the picturesque castle in the village of Mesta, which lies along the southern coastline of the island. Mesta’s long, storied past is interwoven with tradition and her beautiful, natural landscapes, decorated with medieval grandeur. In Mesta you’ll find narrow streets, stone houses and eccentric architecture that mimic the look of castles…and these are just some of the features that make Mesta among the most beautiful spots on the island of Chios. The impressive fortress, or defense tower, dominates the center of the village, and was used by the locals for protection from enemy attacks and invasions.
Mesta is one of the better-known mastic villages of Chios, and whose traditional charm and architectural building structure has been kept intact over the centuries. Built and settled during the Genoese period, these defense-minded houses and buildings are connected via archways (footbridge) that stretch over the streets, allowing the villagers to easily move from rooftop to rooftop. The buildings also lack windows on their facades and have small, circular towers, giving Mesta its castle-village moniker.
Nestled in a valley, the medieval village of Mesta is one of the more popular places on the island, giving any visitor unique and breathtaking sights and landscapes…as if brought to life from a time long past. You will also be impressed by Mesa’s dome of the basilica “Old Commander”, a landmark monument that dates back to 1868. The iconoclast inside the basilica is an example of local, woodcarving art. In addition to visiting this monument, spend some time in what is called “the meadow” of Mesta, or its town square, and experience the aura of Chios all around you.
In the traditional cafes that dot the square, you’ll have the opportunity to try the strong ouzo of Chios, as well as the unique mastic. The village of Mesta has done a great job of keeping its centuries-old, medieval ways alive, including the tradition known as “Aga on Kathari Deftera” (the Tuesday beginning Lent), which dates back to the Turkish period.
Away from the center of the island, but close to beautiful, sandy beaches, Mesta is arguably the most popular tourist destination on Chios. The village attracts vacationers and visitors looking for a peaceful and stress-free getaway, yet at the same time seek that unique, Middle Ages experience. A walk through Mesta’s authentic lure and fascination will impress and satisfy even the most discerned guest!