Chalandra is a small village that clings to one of the highest, most isolated mountainsides in north-eastern Amani. The location is ideal from several perspectives: defensiveness, altitude, but also unparalleled views. In fact, built at an altitude of 470 metres, Chalandra is the highest settlement in Amani (800 m.). Visitors who stop in the village square to see the sights can enjoy striking views of the Afrodisia and Pelinaion mountains, the Keramos river valley and the sea at Agiasmata, with impressive views of the lush green forests that blanket the rocky Pelinaion on the eastern side of the village. Water runs plentiful and refreshing here, allowing lush vegetation to grow all down the small gorges for which the village is renowned. Towering trees compete with the village structures and the belfry that stands proud near the village square. The locals are primarily employed in agriculture and stock breeding, and the village is especially known for its walnuts. In fact, according to a folk song: “We’ll go to Pispilounta for almonds, to Potamia for toys, and to Frodisia and Chalandra for walnuts”. The prominent Chiote linguist K. Amantos theorises that the village was named after the word Chaladrion or Charadrion, a term for an ascetic’s solitary quarters. In his view, the name is clearly medieval, and the village must have received it thanks to a nearby monastery.

On the north side of the village, visitors can see the (old) school and the village square with its plane trees. Somewhat surprisingly, this village was once quite well developed economically. This is readily evident in the size of the church compared to that of the village overall, its wood-carved iconostasis, and the pebble mosaics in the courtyard among others. These decorative elements all show that the villagers were quite well off, and under Turkish rule no less. But by far the most lucrative source of income for northern Chiotes back then was the production of silk. The following folk quatrain (translated from Greek) shows this starkly:
“Upper and Lower Chalandra, Kamini and Lardato, four little villages give Chios a talking to”.
Apart from silk weaving, the locals also extracted antimony in the nearby mines. In fact, it was just such a mine that gave the area of “Petrokopeio” (Greek for stone quarry) its name. In the modern era, many of the residents of Chalandra found work at the Keramos mines on Cape Melanios.
However, mining production suffered a severe blow during the massacre of 1822, due to severe manpower shortages. Those who managed to survive the massacre itself fell victim to the hardships, hunger and typhoid pandemic spread by the unburied victims. Many other men from Chalandra became casualties in the Asia Minor Expedition of 1921. A funerary inscription at the church of St Parasceve reads as follows (translated from Greek): “In honour of the fallen of 1921, Dimitrios Manaoudis, Nik Dontas, Markos Mallas, Dim Zervos, Chr Kalogiros, 3 March 1930”.
Another significant source of income for the residents of Chalandra appears to have been the local windmills, constructed at “Treis Myloi” and “Sellada”. These sources of production were owned communally by the residents of Chalandra and Kamini and seem to have contributed significantly to local prosperity. Also noteworthy is the fact that a water mill at Agiasmata was owned by a person from Kamini.

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