Anavatos village

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July 1, 2016
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Anavatos village

Within a 5 kilometer radius from the village of Augonima and through a fantastic journey between olive and pine trees, at a steep mountain rock, at the edge of a cliff is built the castle-village of Anavatos, 21 kilometers from the city of Chios. Even from the village’s name, Anavatos, the difficult passage, reveals the reason as to why it was built there. Its natural location and its fortification protected the village from the pirates’ raids from the west coasts.

The settlement spreads amphitheatrically from the lowest points towards the acropolis and the cliff. All of the houses are two stories tall, without a roof. They are built one next to the other, with low doors and very small arched windows and skylights, which were used as observatories, they reveal how well they were studied, in order to provide the civilians with the most possible safety. The greatest period of growth in Anavatos was during the last years of the Turkish rule. Unfortunately, the village didn’t survive the fury of the Turks, in 1822 and later the earthquake in 1881 left indelible traces.

High up near the acropolis was the church of the Archangel, two-aisled with two roofs. Today, only the northern walls are saved with original shapes from bows and arches and there are projects with the effort of restoring the church. The representation of the Archangel has been moved to the main entrance of the new church of the Archangel, where there are kept the sacred gifts that were saved from the village’s older churches. Therefore, they give to their total image of the village, an illustration of a dead-living state, adding an evocative sense to a wild view.

The few today residents of the village welcome with great joy every visitor that comes to meet Anavatos, which is the “Mistras” and “Zalogo” of Chios. Outside of Anavatos, on the first curve, there is a small church with the name “Ai Giorgi”. It is preserved in a good state and maintains one part of the murals from the 16th century. The church has the form of a basilica aisle and the walls are made from Chian rock. The entrance to the altar is newer, without some form of intrinsic value. In the interior of the church there are inscriptions from 1688. Across the small church there is a memorial standing in honor of those who fell in the battle with the Ottoman in 1822.