Posted on 20 August 2012 by Basil Boziotis
Today fire rages on the island of Chios threatening the inhabitants of the island as well as the thousands of acres of Mastic Trees which produce countless products used from Ancient Greek Times to the days of Christopher Columbus.
“Chios mastic is a natural, aromatic resin in teardrop shape produced from the mastic tree only growing in the southern part of Chios Island where weather and soil conditions allow this tree to flourish. Mastic is first mentioned by Herodotus, who refers to its usage in embalming. In Roman times, women used it to freshen their breath and whiten their teeth. Christopher Columbus himself was astonished by the properties of mastic when he visited the island and he actually believed that mastic was the cure against cholera. In Arabia, water jars were perfumed with mastic smoke, while in ancient Egypt mastic was used as an embalming agent.”
Today Mastic has been used to treat duodenal ulcers, heartburn and is believed to have anti-cancer properties, while also providing anti-aging benefits which results in reduced appearance of wrinkles and aged skin. Commercially Mastic has many uses ranging from the medicinal to the functional, including use as a stabilizer in paints and making varnishes, especially for musical instruments. Mastic has also been used in the production of tires, aromatic soaps, insecticides, electrical insulators, dentistry, toothpaste, chewing gum, confectionery and paints. A Greek grape spirit, mastiha, is flavored with the resin and over the centuries Mastic is used for making breads, pastries, ice creams, sweet puddings, almond cake and the traditional Greek spoon sweets.
Special Thanks to visitgreece.gr for providing Content for this article.
Click here to see NASA Image of Chios Fire
Posted on 15 March 2012 by Basil Boziotis
The islands are Greece’s chief morphological trait and an integral part of the country’s civilization and tradition. The Greek territory comprises 6,000 islands and islets scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Sea, a truly unique phenomenon on the European continent; of these islands only 227 are inhabited.
The Greek Archipelago takes up 7,500 km of the country’s total 16,000-km coastline, offering a highly diversified landscape: beaches stretching along many kilometers, sheltered bays and coves, golden stretches of sand with dunes, pebbly beaches, coastal caves with steep rocks and black sand typical of volcanic soil, coastal wetlands… Many Greek beaches have been awarded the blue flag under the program Blue Flags of Europe. Apart from swimming, they offer scuba diving, snorkeling, water skiing, sailing and windsurfing. The Greek Islands are home to some of the most ancient and prosperous European civilizations, therefore the islands boast unique archaeological sites, an outstanding architectural heritage and centuries-old local traditions of a multifaceted cultural past.
All the above, combined with the ideal climate, the safety of Greek waters and the short distances between ports and coasts, have rendered the Greek islands extremely popular among Greek and foreign visitors.
Most islands lie in the Aegean Sea and are divided in seven groups listed below from furthest north to south.
- The Northeastern Aegean Islands: Agios Efstratios, Thasos, Ikaria, Lesvos, Limnos, Inousses, Samos, Samothrace, Chios, Psara.
- The Sporades: Alonissos, Skiathos, Skopelos, Skyros
- The Argo-Saronic Islands: Angistri, Aegina, Poros, Salamina, Spetses, Hydra and the coastal area of Methana.
- The Cyclades: A group of 56 islands, its most important ones being Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Antiparos, Delos, Ios, Kea, Kimolos, Kythnos, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Santorini, Serifos, Sikinos, Sifnos, Syros, Tinos, Folegandros, as well as the “Minor Cyclades” comprising Donousa, Irakleia, Koufonisia and Schinoussa.
- The Dodecanese: Astypalaia, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kasos, Kastelorizo, Kos, Lipsi, Leros, Nisyros, Patmos, Rhodes, Symi, Tilos, Halki.
The Ionian Sea is home to only one island group:
- The Ionian Islands: Zakynthos, Ithaca, Corfu, Cephallonia, Lefkada, Paxi, Antipaxi, Ereikoussa, Mathraki, Meganissi, Othoni, Strofades.
These islands, together with Kythira, which is however cut-off from the rest, opposite the southern Peloponnese (Lakonia), as well as neighboring Antikythira, they constitute the Eptanissa.
- General Information on the islands with Island download brochures: CLICK HERE FOR INFO
The islands of Gavdos (situated south of Crete), Elafonissos (in the Gulf of Laconia) and Trizonis (in the Gulf of Corinth), although not forming part of any group, are of unparalleled natural beauty.
Posted on 09 February 2012 by Basil Boziotis
The casual lifestyle of Ikaria can be experienced through out the Island where the daily grind of the modern world has never reached the shores of Ikaria. Shops are typically left unattended and customers indulge in self service leaving monies due in baskets which serve as cash registers. The island is perfect for those that want to kick back and chill and truly experience a hip laid back spot.
Made famous by Icarus who’s father, Daedalus attempted to escape from his exile where he and his son were imprisoned at the hands of King Minos, the king for whom he had built the Labyrinth to imprison the Minotaur (half man, half bull). Daedalus fashioned two pairs of wings out of wax and feathers for himself and his son. Before they took off from the island, Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the sun, nor too close to the sea. Icarus soared through the sky, but in the process he came too close to the sun, which melted the wax, so Icarus fell into the sea near Ikaria, an island southwest of Samos.
According to website “Greeka” The permanent inhabitants of Ikaria are approaching the record of longevity and attract the interest of the global scientific community. In fact, a group of American scientists of various specialties (dieticians, geneticists, doctors, biologists) traveled to Ikaria recently to study why the inhabitants of this beautiful Aegean island live till their 90 or 100 years.
The leader of the group believes that this is due to the qualitative daily life and the diet of the inhabitants. “On Ikaria, people follow a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and fish, while most of the residents are farmers, which means that they exercise daily”, he says. He also stresses that of great importance is the rare honey of the island, the habit to drink tea and the daily siesta.
Click Here for Information on Ikaria