Oinousses islands

Oinousses, main settlement

Oinousses, alternative forms: Aignoussa or Egnoussa is a barren cluster of 1 larger and 8 smaller islands some 2 km off the north-east coast of the Greek island of Chios and 8 km west of Turkey. Administratively the islands form a municipality within the Chios peripheral unit, which is part of the North Aegean Periphery. The principal town of the islands and seat of the municipality is also called Oinousses. Oinousses has a small resident population, living primarily in the islands’ town of Oinoússes (pop. 999), and a recently built monastery. The town is centred around a square (plateia) and a small port; it includes a school, several churches, a Naval high school and a maritime museum. The only other populated settlements are Kástron (pop. 32) and Aspalathrókampos (19).

(1) Chios  (2) Oinousses  (3) Psara
Coordinates: 38°31′N 26°13′E

The islands are noted as the origin of an unusual cluster of successful ship-owning families: the Lemos, Pateras, Hadjipateras, Kollakis and Lyras families. Whilst most of the families now live elsewhere most of the year, the islands and town are well maintained with a strong naval connection. Oinoussians abroad are noted for their successful entrepreneurial skills in the industrial transportation industry. Although the number of Oinoussian ship operating companies has fallen since their heyday in the 1960s they still maintain a formidable position in the industrial transportation industry.

The Battle of the Oinousses islands - Turkish-Venetian War 1695The twin battles of the Oinousses comprised two separate actions, on 9 and 19 February 1695 near the Oinousses Islands, off Cape Karaburun in western Anatolia, between a Venetian fleet under Antonio Zeno and the Ottoman fleet under Mezzo Morto Hüseyin. The result of the first battle was a Venetian defeat, and although the second engagement ended in a draw, the Venetian position in Chios became untenable, forcing Zeno to abandon the island.

The most famous sight of the island is the Monastery of Evangelismos of Virgin Mary. It was founded in 1964 and has some amazing frescoes, illustrated by the famous artist Fotis Kontoglou. There is also a Naval Museum, founded in 1991, which includes many interesting ship models, old naval equipment, photographs and old pieces of weapon. The island of Oinousses is daily linked to Chios town. It consists a great excursion to spend a couple of days in peace and picturesqueness.

Being an island of the maritime and of shipowners, Inousses is a very traditional and family oriented island, and one whose accommodation consists mainly of small traditional hotels and cosy rooms to let. The locals are very friendly and welcoming, and these genuine hospitality is something that visitors to Inousses truly appreciate.

During the summer months, many travellers visit Inousses, as well as many others taking a day trip here from the nearby island of Chios.