Volissos

Volissos is the major settlement of north-western Chios, located in the region known as Amani. It’s also the jump-off point for the route to the water mills on the Malagkiotis river.
Modern-day Volissos was established atop the ruins of an ancient settlement, also named Volissos (or Voliskos, with the accent on the i). According to the myth, it was the home and final resting place of the poet Homer. The region is also mentioned in another notable episode from antiquity: the Athenians landed here in 412 B.C. to bring the rebellious Chiotes back into the fold of the Delian League and pillaged the region in the wake of their victory.
Volissos is located 38 km from the island’s capital, built amphitheatrically on a hillside. The village port is known as Limnios, a small settlement with a narrow but picturesque pebble beach.
Nearby, visitors can find the Managros, Magemena, Gonia, Lefkathia and Limnos beaches. The Lampsa and Agia Markella beaches can also be found here.

The monastery of St Markella, a prominent pilgrimage sight for locals and tourists alike, is located a few kilometres from Volissos. The Diplos is a fascinating local custom, revived by the local cultural association every Carnival Sunday in the village square. It encompasses a human chain, singing and dancing the local “Diplos” dance. This is followed by a feast in the village square, where guests can partake of suma, roasted chickpeas and confections.
Also worth a visit is the Byzantine castle, the ruins of which stand atop the hill where Volissos is built. Occupying a strategic position with views of the entire north-western shoreline, this castle was arguably the most crucial defensive structure in all of Amani. That’s not to say that the villages themselves were unprotected: true to medieval architecture, ach one had its own fortifications. But the castle at Volissos is the most important, and indeed the most imposing fortification visitors to northern Chios can see. According to the historical and archaeological information we have, the castle was most likely constructed in the 11th century. It’s even mentioned in Anna Komnene’s Alexiad. On the other hand, a local tradition dates its founding to the 6th century and connects it Belisarius, a renowned general who served under emperor Justinian.
The castle developed into its final form under the Genoese, who controlled the island in the 15th century. Viewed from above, it’s a trapezoidal structure fortified with six turrets along the walls. The ruins inside, among others the remains of cisterns, churches and houses, show that the castle was well organised in its time. What’s more, visitors have the opportunity to visit a recently discovered gallery that connects the castle with the area of Pithonas. Any who visit the area at sunset are sure to be spellbound by the final rays of light as they cast their gentle light and silhouette the castle.
On the other hand, the holy pilgrimage of St Markella, patron saint of the island’s capital city, is just eight kilometres west of Volissos. Religious tourists especially will find it well worth the visit. The account of the saint’s life states that she was martyred at the age of eighteen by her pagan father, and a spring of warm water appeared where she died. In the modern day, a church dedicated to St Markella was erected at the nearby beach and commemorates the saint on 22 July, incidentally a local holiday for the island. It’s worth noting the multitude of local traditions associated with the miracles performed by St Markella.

Church of the Taxiarch (Taxiarchis Mesochoritis)    
Visitors to Volissos will encounter more than forty churches, many of which date to Byzantine times and have been renovated. The church of the Taxiarch is a single-nave structure with later additions.
 Its antiquity is evident in a Byzantine pillar visitors can see inside.

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