Mesta is like a castle. It is one of the most beautiful villages on the island and it is located thirty-five kilometres southwest of Chios town. The village has been classified as a protected monument as its elaborate architecture dates back to the Byzantine period. The small stone-built houses are built next to each other, and form a powerful protective wall which is the outer perimeter of the settlement. This explains why the houses did not have any windows in their outer-facing walls. The Genoese improved the fortification of the village, which was frequently attacked by pirates. In the outer corners of the village there were – and still are – small circular towers, and the village houses were connected by very narrow, covered streets know as “tholous” (arches).
The village has numerous, mainly small, churches, which stand out from the village houses because of their low height and their roofs. The largest and most important of these is the New Taxiarchis church which was built in 1868 on the site of the castro’s old circular tower near the central square of the village, or the “livadi” (meadow) as the Mestousoi (villagers) call it. Locals and visitors alike gather in the square to enjoy food, coffee and pastries. One of the village “treasures” that is well worth making time to visit is the Palio Taxiarchis Church. You will enjoy seeing the remarkable frescoes which have been uncovered in the church, and the carved iconoclast which shows scenes from the Old and New Testaments. The iconoclast dates from 1833 and is a fine example of high quality local woodcarving. Then, you can take a walk through the cobbled village streets, absorbing the unique atmosphere and energy. Relax, and lose yourself in the magic. Taste the traditional flavours of southern Chios, and savour the scents of mastic, souma (a local spirit made from figs) xourmades (local olives) and the bunches of tomatoes hanging outside each door. But other than the unquestionably unique flavours, smells and sights of Mesta, you will “feel at home” here – a home like a castle that gives you such a warm welcome that you will never want to leave!