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Nea Moni

The monastery of Nea Moni is 12km far from the town center and about 4km from the village of Avgonyma. It is the most important Byzantine monument of Chios and one of the greatest of Greece.

It was built in 1042 AD after the donation of the emperor of Constantinople, Constantine IX Monomachos. According to the tradition, the emperor sent artisans from Constantinople to build the monastery so as to fulfill the promise he gave to the monks Nikitas, Ioannes and Iosif because they had predicted that he would return to the throne after his exile in Lesvos.

The mosaics of Nea Moni represent one of the three foremost creations of fine arts in Greece during the Middle Ages. The samples of art of Constantinople stand out since the artists who had been sent by the emperor himself and had worked on the monastery, brought with them their technique, which was similar to that decorating the imperial palace.

For many centuries it was the most important religious center of the island. It has repeatedly undergone major damage, during the massacre of Chios in 1822, when thousands of women and children persecuted by the Turks took refuge in the monastery where they had been slaughtered. Moreover the earthquake that struck the island in 1881 destroyed the dome of the arch of the sanctuary as well as many mosaics.

In the nave the best preserved representation is the Baptism, which along with the Crucifixion and Resurrection is a masterpiece. There is also the Metamorphosis and the Deposition of Christ, while the two of the four Evangelists, Ioannes and Mark, have been also saved.

The celebration of the monastery takes place on 23 August. Because of its paramount importance in terms of historical art and architecture, it was listed in the Monuments of International Cultural Heritage of UNESCO.