The lentisk resin produced by the mastic tree only grows on the northern Aegean island of Chios. Until the refugee crisis drew attention to the picturesque island as an entry point to the European Union, Chios was known mainly for its mastic. The beneficial qualities of the resin were world-famous, whereas the mastic-producing tradition was passed down from generation to generation, becoming a central focus of the architecture, villages and habits of the people. The history of mastic on Chios and how it has influenced the island is displayed at the Mastic Museum of Chios, the eighth such cultural facility created by the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation’s museum network.
The museum, fittingly located in Southern Chios, where the Mastichochoria (mastic villages) are located focuses on the tradition of mastic cultivation. Open halls promote the history of mastic, and how it has been produced and processed through the years. The unique natural product is showcased through several categories.
“The beneficial qualities of the resin were world-famous, whereas the mastic-producing tradition was passed down from generation to generation.”
At the entrance, visitors learn about the piastacia mastic and resin which was recognized as a natural medicine (HPMC) by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in 2015. Once inside the museum, the secrets of mastic cultivation are revealed. Another section focuses on the history of mastic production and how it has shaped Chios, whereas the final section informs visitors on the cooperative management and processing of mastic production in later years. The experience then continues outdoors where visitors are given the opportunity to see and touch the plant in its natural environment.
The museum was inaugurated on June 11 by Greek President Proopis Pavlopoulos who highlighted the importance of the exhibition in such “hard times”.