Mesta is a traditional village on the Greek island of Chios. It belongs to a group of villages in South Chios called the Mastic Villages, named after their historic role in the production of mastic, grown on the lentisk tree. UNESCO's list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity includes The Mastic Villages, which are characterized by specific medieval architecture. 

A brief history of Mesta 

Mastic has traditionally been harvested in Mesta for at least 2,500 years, since Greek Antiquity. Derived from Greek, the word mastic was Romanized to 'mastichein' meaning 'to gnash the teeth', which is also the source of the English word 'masticate'.  Built in the 12th century during the Byzantine era; Mesta is like a maze of narrow streets, which functioned to ward off pirate raids and a fort was built around the village to provide even more security and reinforced between 1346 and 1566, during the Genoese era. The church of the Older Taxiarchi, built in 1794, is located in the centre of the village. 

The Greek War of Independence had a significant impact on the island, and in 1822 there was a massacre on the island, where the Ottomans killed tens of thousands of people and destroyed their mastic harvest. Sadly, the island never managed to regain its commercial prominence following this event.

What to do in Mesta

Inside the village walls, the streets are free of cars and only pedestrian access allowed, but when you are inside why not visit the Church of Old Taxiarch, it is beautiful inside and intricately decorated. Just south of the centre is the lovely little church of Saint Nektarios. If you get tired and hungry from visiting the churches around the village, then why not reward yourself with some doughnuts! Kanellos Donuts serve traditional loukoumades, which are like doughnuts with traditional Greek toppings!

Beaches around Mesta

Apothia beach is near Limenas Mesta, the little port; it is 7 km south of Olymbi. It is a curving sandy cove with some tree to provide shade along with a small cafe during the summer. Another lovely beach is Paralia Avlonia, which has very calm with shallow waters; however, there are no facilities, just a single café open during the summer only. Paralia Salagona beach is also nearby, its crystalline waters are great for snorkelling, and in the summer months, there are umbrellas to rent.

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