The Rocket War of Chios

Chios (Khíos, Híos) is the Greek island located in the Aegean Sea. It is only 7 kilometres from Turkish coast. Local Nea Moni monastery from the 11th century is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Small town of Vrontados is located on the eastern side of the island. It is famous for its rocket war (in Greek rouketopolemos). In the evening before Orthodox Easter Sunday groups of people, calling themselves "gangs", from Saint Mark and Panagia Erithiani ("Red Madonna") parishes start a fierce battle. Tens of thousands of home made rockets a fired between these two parishes. Two parish churches are only some 400 metres away from each other.

Rocket war of Chios
Rocket war of Chios

To protect the parish churches and nearby objects people cover some of them with metal nets. Injuries or even deaths happen mainly due to mistakes done in preparation of rockets. On the next day people there is an official counting of successful hits. But usually nobody respects it. Both sides claim their own victory.