Vessa is one of the most significant medieval villages in Chios. The tower of Vessa, likewise the towers of the other villages as well, was built during the 10th century. Over time, a housing development was created around this tower. In every building the village’s local stone has been used, completely harmonizing the village with the environment. For the protection from pirate threats, the village’s towers are built in such spots that allow the communication with other towers, called “vigla”, which are close to the sea in order to be able to notify the residents in case of a pirate attack.
After Genoese occupied the island, the existing network of communities is strengthened by a network of castles that serves not only the garrison’s accommodation but also those communities’ defense.
Vessa, likewise every mastic village, after its occupation by the Genoese, belongs to a company, named “Mahona”, so the protection and inspection of small farmers are essential. This was partly achieved by merging smaller communities. At the same time, the movement of Turkish people to the coasts of Asia Minor, helped the Genoese to preserve and improve the existing byzantine defense system. Thus, in the center of these communities, there is the central tower and the village’s square; outside the village there is the wall and in the middle, a continuous and serried construction system. Also, there is a small tower in every corner of the wall. The access through the central tower was achieved using the floor and not the ground floor, with constructions connecting it with the surrounding wall that could be moved to isolate the tower. The employees of Mahona used to live in the village’s towers during the Genoese period. They were also a place of mastic collection and the last defense shelter for the residents.
The limited space between the tower and the wall led to the expansion of houses on the streets with semi-cylindrical arches, like these you can observe in this particular street and in other spots of the village as well. The streets are designed in such a way, so as their ending to the square not to be obvious and the invaders to get lost. Moreover, apart from the network of streets, there was a communication network using the roofs with the help of arches which were connecting the foreheads of opposite houses, as you can observe in this street.
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