In the north part of the island, on a coast which the Greek philosopher Strabo describes as rugged and harborless, the small valley cascading to the coast has been blessed with a hot spring, dubbing the area “Agiasmata” (roughly translating as “holy springs”).
It’s the early 20th century, and the health benefits associated with hot springs have come to the fore once again. Predictably, Agiasmata becomes a sought-after destination for people –mostly residing in the town of Chios– interested in healing. The need to accommodate the patients initially leads to normal houses being converted into rudimentary hospitality areas. By erecting the “Omonia” hotel in 1938, though, Katsaros brothers manage to pull off a game-changer.
On the building’s façade, one can’t help but notice its simplicity, as dictated by the then architectural trends. Made of local rock, reinforced concrete and bricks accentuating the openings, the building consists of two L-shaped wings, while the entrance to it is through the point where the wings meet. The north wing incorporates two floors, while the eastern one just one, indicating a two-phase construction. As it was customary back then, the spa rooms are located on the ground floor of the north wing, while the first floor as well as the second wing host accommodation areas. Finally, a cornice on the roof of the north wing, identical to the existing terrace, points to a presumable floor addition, which however never materialized. The hotel eventually went out of business in 1994.
Note: In European terms, ground floor (being at ground level) generally refers to the floor which exits directly onto the street; by extension, first floor is the floor which one has to use a staircase to walk up to. Typically, the equivalent terms in American English are first floor and second floor.
Agiasmata hot springs
The hot springs source in Agiasmata is located at the west end of the beach, reaching a temperature of 57.5°C. Not far to the east, mineral water gushes from the “Lefkandria” spring.
Translated into English by Nikos Loutraris
Tracing his descent from Thimiana village of Chios, he was born in 1982 in the Attica region. He has been residing on Chios since 2005. A conservator of antiquities, he has worked in the public and private sector.