PhotoThe island of Chios is situated 27 n.m. south of Lesvos. Its surface area is 842 sq. km, the coasts are 213 km long and the population is made up of 54,000 inhabitants. The island's ground is semi-mountainous. The highest mountain is Pilineo, its tallest peak being Profitis Ilias (1,297 m.), while other mountains are Amani (809 m.) and Pigania (795 m.). Between the mountains and coasts are many small valleys. The ground of Chios is fertile. The local production includes fruit, olives and "mastiha", the island's famous product. The trees producing "mastiha" grow in the south. Some of them grow in the north, too, but they do not produce "mastiha". The island has many gardens producing tasty garden products, while form the sycamore trees, the people of Chios make "souma", a very strong local drink, equivalent to the Cretan "raki". In the spring Chios attracts many "eco-tourists", who come here to admire the island's rich flora, particularly the wild tulips flourishing at this time of the year. In the waterlands, in "Limnos" and "Parpanda" in Kardamila, live friendly water-turtles, while during the emigration season, one can admire the beautiful birds called "peramatarika". The climate of Chios is mild with regular rains throughout the year, especially from October to March. The temperature does not reach very high levels, not even in the summer. The cheerful and hospitable people of Chios bear their homeland's naval tradition. They are optimists and hard workers, managing to overcome, with strength and courage, difficulties such as the 1881 earthquake which caused death to thousands of people and the total destruction of the settlements of Chios.