Chios Town (Χίος), also called Chora (Χώρα) or sometimes Kastro (Κάστρο), is the capital of Chios and the main city on the island. There are several points of interest and historic sites, along with a beautiful harbor lined with restaurants and cafes that are full of life day and night.
The Kastro district within Chios Castle is the historic settlement of Chios and was the Ottoman quarter of the city during their rule. Outside of the castle is the Kipos, the municipal garden of Chios. In the center is a monument to Konstantinos Kanaris, the local hero of the Greek Revolution, who in 1822 blew up the Ottoman flagship and killed the admiral of the Ottoman navy, Kara Ali, in the process. The Kipos is a nice place to sit and relax. Across the street to the north is a large Ottoman fountain.
At one end of the Kipos is a large open square. At the south end are several cafes and the pedestrian shopping street of Aplotarias. You can find clothes, souvenirs, local products, toys, and just about anything you are looking for on this street and it’s arteries.
The Public Art Gallery of Chios is also near the square. It’s housed in the former Municipal Baths, built in 1939. The building served as a bath until the late 1970s and was converted into the art gallery in 1984. Admission is free, and the gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 1pm and 7pm to 10pm.
You can find the Byzantine Museum, located in the former Ottoman Mecidiye Camii, just east of the square. Inside are several icons from Byzantine churches in Chios. The most impressive are from Panagia Krina, which should also be visited in person to fully appreciate the iconography and history. The features of the mosque, including the minbar, are still intact. Admission is €2 as of July 2016.
The Koraes Library is one of the biggest and oldest libraries in Greece, dating back to 1792. It was founded by Adamantios Koraes, who donated the initial collection. It even includes a series of illustrations of Egypt donated by Napoleon in honor of Koraes. Inside the library is the Argenti Museum, which contains several folkloric items, traditional costumes, and paintings of prominent families of Chios. Admission to the galleries is €2 as of July 2016. It’s open daily except Sundays. Outside of the library is a statue of Koraes and next to it is the Metropolitan Church of Chios.
The Chios Archaeological Museum is near the southern end of the harbor. It features a great collection of items found in digs on Chios and nearby Psara. Among the most interesting pieces is a letter from Alexander the Great to the Chians. Admission is €2 as of July 2016. It’s closed Mondays.
Nearby is the Chios campus of the University of the Aegean. The university is spread over several islands with the main campus located in Lesbos. It doesn’t look very inviting with the disgraceful graffiti on the gates, but there is a nice garden inside.
Finally, one museum I didn’t make time for was the Chios Maritime Museum. It chronicles the history of shipping in Chios and the island’s maritime tradition. The building is a 19th century mansion donated by the Pateras shipping family in 1991. The museum is open from Monday to Saturday and admission is free.
All of those attractions are great, but my absolute favorite thing to do in Chios Town is to sit at a cafe on the harbor, sip a frappe, watch people, talk with friends, and pass the time away.