The Byzantine Museum in Chios is contained within the 19th Century Ottoman mosque which is located in the central town square. This museum has been in operation since 1980 and contains items that were donated from collections as well as findings discovered in local excavations. The dates of the items on display range from the Early Christian period to the post-Byzantine period (5th – 18th century).
The museum is comprised of a timber-roofed porch, a large basement and a main room. Currently, the mosque porch and the courtyard are only open to the public. The remaining portion is still under renovation.
The courtyard displays stone objects discovered during excavations as well as tombstones from Muslim and Jewish graves. There is a significant collection of sculptures dated during the Genoese occupation of Chios between 1345 and 1566 which serves as evidence of the period. Worthwhile items included in this collection are the sarcophagus of Ottuboni Ioustiniani located in the courtyard next to the stairway as well as two large slabs from lintels with carvings of Aghios Georghios (St. George) slaying a dragon displayed on the porch. At least one item was brought from Genoa.
On the right side of the courtyard, canons made from iron and brass are on display. They were taken from the bastions of the Castle (Fortress) of Chios whilst it has been determined that two of the canons were constructed in 1687 and 1689, respectively. A third canon is from France since it has the coat of arms of the kings of France inscribed.
Also contained in the porch are column capitals of the 6th century AD, an iconostasis closure slab, impost blocks of double half-columns with crosses and other objects that belong to the various churches of Chios. The wall-paintings that were detached from the Byzantine church of Panaghia Krina (dated late 12th century) are also on display. The painter Michael Chomatzas executed in 1734 these wall paintings.
The most important items of the present exhibition include:
A mural by Michael Chomatzas dated 1734 which depicts three girls sleeping. This is a scene from the miracles of Aghios Nikolaos (St. Nicholas). The mural belongs to the church of Panaghia Krina.
Two marble door lintels depicting Aghios Georghios killing the dragon. This is a Genoese piece dating back to the Renaissance.
Special Note: The museum will remain closed to the public until 2008 due to extented gentrification works made by archaeologists of the Greek Ministry of Culture.
Opening Hours for Byzantine Museum: Tuesday – Sunday 08:30-13:00, Monday closed
Tel. +30 22710 81337
Ticket: 2€. 1€ for Greek pupils and students.