Experience Pyrgi

Experience Pyrgi
Just 24 kilometres from Chios Town, on the island of Chios in a remote part of the Northern Aegean (closer to Turkey than Greece), is a Greek geometric town by the name of Pyrgi. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s because it’s relatively undiscovered. Chios itself isn’t a touristy Greek island – it’s a far-flung destination from the popular Cyclades area. Often it’s merely a stop over between Turkey and Greece.

Despite vicious fighting between the Turks and Greeks in previous years, Pyrgi is one of the few areas that look the same as it did when it was initially built. There are structures dating back to the 13th century, including the Byzantine Church. The real draw here is the stunningly intricate black and white geometrical décor on all the buildings, even the churches and homes. It’s known as the “xysta” style, and each pattern is hand-designed, meaning no two patterns on any building are alike. You’ll want to bring a camera for this one.

Pyrgi street
Cherry tomatos hanging
“The technique, called xysta, uses equal amounts of cement, volcanic sand and lime as well as bent forks and a fine eye.”


Lonely Planet

Unique Things to See and Do in Pyrgi

  • Wander the narrow streets and take in the geometric designs
  • Visit the Byzantine church of St. Apostles
  • Pause for a frappe in the town square
  • See the house where Christopher Columbus once resided
  • Visit a neighbouring beach
  • Learn about the island’s mastic tree, not grown anywhere else in the world
  • See the Genoese tower

Information on Pyrgi

You’re free to roam around Pyrgi as you please, snapping photos and taking in the geometric designs. If you wander into the church, it’s recommended to provide a donation.

If you’re looking for the house where Christopher Columbus spent his time (he was once interested in mastic, a tree that is native only to this island), just look for a little building to the east of the square with a plaque attached.

Getting to Pyrgi

As Chios isn’t exactly a touristy town, there’s little in the way of infrastructure to help visitors get around.

Pyrgi is located 24 kilometres from Chios Town. Your best bet is to hop on a local tour or find a friendly local to take you there.

Chios is an exceptionally welcoming place! From Chios Town there is a daily bus service to Pyrgi, but keep in mind everything works on island time.

Did you know…?

The “xysta” style comes from the Italian “Sgratffito” style, originating from Genoa.

Geometrics of xysta

Did you ALSO know…?

Mastic is used in a huge variety of products, including ouzo and candles.

"Mastic Tears of Chios" - resin

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