Chios Mastic Museum Opens, Celebrates Greek Nature’s Wondrous ‘Tear’
The mastic of Chios, its harvest and its secrets take center stage thanks to a new museum which opened its doors to the public this weekend in the village of Pyrgi.
Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos inaugurated the museum, which is part of the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation’s Museums Network, and which aims to offer insight into mastic and its production. The project has been budgeted at 6.700.000 euros.
Granted Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status and placed by UNESCO on its Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the natural resin of the mastic tree, known as the “tear of Chios”, has been found to have a series of medicinal qualities and health benefits. The painstaking and costly process of harvesting and cultivating the resin is passed on from generation to generation through word of mouth primarily in the 24 southern villages of Chios known as the “mastichohoria”, which rely on the production of the Pistacia lentiscus Chia variety and which now house the museum which aims to safeguard the unique-to-Chios procedure and product and raise awareness of its significance. The harvest of mastic takes place from the beginning of July to the beginning of October.
“Our homeland, in these trying times, is in need of people who have strength and ideas. The Chios Mastic Museum initiative is an important contribution not only to our cultural heritage but also to regional development,” said Mr Pavlopoulos.
The inaugural event was attended by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Hieronymus, Piraeus Bank President Michalis Sallas, Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis, MPs and MEPs.