Chios famous mastic cultivation has made the Intangible Cultural Herigate of Humanity (ICH) list of UNESCO. The cultivation is an ancient artform passed down from generation to generation and UNESCO felt that it should be preserved and given the opportunity to flourish.
“The knowledge associated with the cultivation and collection of mastic is passed down from generation to generation; it constitutes an important component of rural life for the inhabitants of Chios facilitating social cohesion and solidarity among them,” said the UNESCO decision.
Mastic cultivation is a year-long process. The pistacia lentiscus shrub, which grows in south Chios, and from which the aromatic resin called mastic, has been renowned since the Middle Ages for its properties and multiple uses. The production of mastic, an ancient practice unaltered over time, impacts the social structure and cultural landscape of 24 Mastic Villages where the product is exclusively extracted. Traditional cultivation is a representative element of Chios, strengthening the bonds of local society, while giving the residents of the Mastic Villages a distinct identity. The residents are aware of their multiple cultural heritage.