History & Sights
It is believed that millions of years ago there was no Aegean Sea, but Tinos and the other islands were the mountains of a region that united Greece with Asia.
Phoenicians were reported to be the first inhabitants and later on, Ions, Athenians, Macedonians and Romans. Its name possibly originates from its first settler, Tinios.
Other names of the island were «Hydroussa» and «Ofiousa» because of the great population of snakes. Aristophanes even calls it «Skorodoforos» due to the fine garlic it produced.
After the decline of Rome, Tinos was subordinated to the Byzantine Empire. The Venetians’ first and primary care was to defend to island, so they built watch towers and they paid special attention to the fortification of the castle in the mountain of Exomvourgo.
The Turkish domination in Tinos differed from that in the other parts of Greece. Tinians enjoyed many liberties and privileges so much as regards the outfit, the religion and the culture, as the economy of the island. Its economy flourishes after the spectacular growth of commerce and marble sculpting.
At the end of January 1823, Virgin Mary’s icon was found.
Kolokotronis, Miaoulis, Nikitaras and Makrygiannis went on a pilgrimage to Tinos.
It was considered as the most significant holy message of the Greek Orthodox Christianity to the Greek War of Independence of 1821.
The island’s capital and port is Chora of Tinos, a beautiful city with cobbled streets, Cycladic architecture houses and old mansions. On the waterfront there are many grocery stores, hotels, taverns, cafes and patisseries with traditional sweets, while two wide uphill roads lead to the majestic, white marble temple of Panagia Evangelistria. Near the temple of Megalochari, in the place of Poles, the wall of the citadel of the 4th century BC and the Archaelogical Museum are visible. In the city there are also a lot of churches.
A masterpiece of Cycladic architecture and the first architectural monument of modern Greece, the temple of Megalochari was built in 1823, after the discovery of the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary, and gradually acquired its current glory as a pan-Orthodox pilgrimage. Under the church of Panagia is the church of the Finding, on the foundations of an early Christian church, which was built on the site of an ancient sanctuary of Dionysus. Opposite the church of Finding there is a gallery with very remarkable works by Greek painters. In the area of the church of Panagia there is a container with great value ecclesiastical and historical objects and a library with rare books, while in the Museum of Tinian Artists great works of artists who were born in Tinos are exhibited. Near the entrance of the church there is a monument for the members of the crew of the prosperous “Elli”, which was torpedoed in 1940 in the port of Tinos.
The Museum is located on Megalocharis Avenue opposite the OTE building. It was founded in 1963 and exhibits findings from the excavations in Kionia, where, among other things, the complex of statues representing a marine troupe is of great interest. It also houses a series of large relief pithos from Dimitra’s Sanctuary on the slope of Xombourgos above the village of Tripotamos. Moreover, It includes pottery from the Mycenaean to the late Hellenistic and Roman periods, sculptures from the Archaic to the Thoracic and a fragment from a head of the 1st A.D. century that is supposed to be a portrait of the emperor Claudius, a marble sculpture depicting Triton and interpreted as a gable sculpture, cape or member of a tethrip, of the 2nd century B.C., marble sundial that shows the solar time the equinoxes and the solstices, work of Andronikos of Kyrristos, end of 2nd-early 1st BC. century, all this from Kionia, a mosaic floor decorated with geometric design from Tinos Town was found in the orchard of the church of Panagia. In the courtyard of the museum parts from the animal carrier of the altar of Poseidon and Amphitrite are exhibited.
The Tinian Artists Museum
It was founded in 1930 on the initiative of the Panhellenic Holy Foundation of Evangelistria to house works of artists born in Tinos.
You can see 5 works by Nikolaos Gyzis, about 25 works by Giannoulis Halepas, paintings by Nikiforos and Nikolaos Lytras, and original works in marble and patterns by Georgios Vitalis, Lazaros Fytalis, Loukas Doukas, Lazarou Ioannis Souchou, Nikolaou and Ioannis Voulgaris.
For many years a remarkable collection of works of art donated to the Foundation by Athanasios Papadopoulos has been exhibited in front of the Church of the Finding.
It includes works by many well-known Greek painters, such as Nikolaos Gyzis, Georgios Iakovidis, Georgios Roilos, Polychronis Lembesis, Nikiforos Lytras, Dimitrios Pelekasis. Copies of works by Velasquez, Rubens, Rembrandt, Murigo and other great European painters are also on display.
Folk Art Tinos Museum
The Monastery of Ag. Triada (outside the city) has a significant number of objects from island’s past life, of which the remarkable collection of marble lintels is of particular interest. At the Museum there is an independent tribute to the torpedoing of the ship “Elli” on 15.8.1940 (pieces from the ship, etc.) in the gulf of Tinos.
Educational Museum of the Ursulines Monastery (in Loutra)
The Ursuline’s Monastery has been an important educational center for girls for 133 years (1860-1993) with Greek and French high school, carpet weaving, sewing, weaving, fine arts, housework and music studies (with 30 pianos). Samples from the production of its students and material of surveillance that still exists, are on display in the museum.
Folk and Ecclesiastical Museum of the Monastery of Jesuits
A small museum with items from the life and work of the Tinos monks from 1661 in Xomburgko and from 1840 in Loutra with emphasis on their educational work and the relationship with the young people. (Since 1994)
Ecclesiastical Museum of Falatados
It is housed in the church of Ag. Triada where Byzantine icons, church vestments and utensils are exhibited.
Historical and Folk Museum of Karya, Tinos
It is located in the old school of the village which was restored with the contribution of the sculptor Irini Chariati and includes the collection of the sculptor from items of popular culture of the island, costumes, photographic material, etc.
Halepa’s house in Pyrgos
Halepa’s house, which has been turned into a museum, houses photographs and personal belongings, while at the entrance the visitor is greeted by the bust of the creator of the Sleeping Beauty. Sights of Pyrgos are also the two parish churches of Agios Nikolaos and Agios Dimitrios with the magnificent marble decoration (iconostasis, shrines, pulpits, etc.), the preserved monument of cemetery (18th century) with the stone-carved decorated tombstones and the village square with the marble fountains and the centuries-old plane tree (historical monument to be preserved).
It is located at Isternia and its collection includes works by Lazaros Sohos, Iakovos Malakate and the Fitali brothers.
Museum of Tinian Artists of Pyrgos
A total of 47 works is displayed, representing the artistic production of the sculptures born in Pyrgos and Isternia. The museum does not exhibit the marble works themselves, but their plaster models. In some of them the marks that the artist put before the “transfer” to marble are visible.
Irene Chariatis Sculpture Gallery (at the entrance of Pyrgos)
It includes 60 copies of works by one of the few female sculptors in the country and the island. They concern projects that adorn public and private spaces in Greece and abroad. It was inaugurated in August 1998.
Traditional Ceramics Museum
In Aetofolia, a museum of 2009 curated by the Center for the Study of Modern Ceramics. It brings together traditional pottery techniques as well as many side events.
Museum of Marble Arts and Crafts
In Pyrgos, in Panormos area, there is a very active museum in organizing exhibitions. Its opening hours are from March 1st to October 15th : Daily (except Tuesday) from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and from October 16th to February 28th : Daily (except Tuesday) from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Contact details: Tel.22830-31290, Fax: 2283031293, www.piop.gr email@example.com
Since summer 2009, at the junction of the road Marla – Mamadou, the Art Park of the area has been operating in honor of the invisible Exomerit Latomou, but also in honor of the artists Giannouli Halepa and Nikolaou Skalkotas who attract their origin from the villages of the area.
Tinos School of Fine Arts
Tinos School of Fine Arts in Pyrgos is a global reference point for art lovers. Since 1955, its students have been teaching marble and preparing for the Athens School of Fine Arts. Accepted are the graduates of at least High School who have passed the entrance exams of the school.
Apart from Panagia Evangelistria and the Church of the Finding, in the city of Tinos there are also Agios Ioannis, the Taxiarches with an 18th century iconostasis, and the churches of the Catholics Agios Nikolaos and Agios Antonios.
We will also find churches in all the villages.
Tinos’ villages are exceptional attractions, examples of incomparable beauty and architectural value.
Triantaros, where you will enjoy the view of the Aegean from an altitude of 500 meters. The old common laundries of the villages are still used today!
Arnados, Graphic village on the slope of Mount Kechrovouni, known for its famous medieval arches and paved narrow alleys. In the main square, the impressive Church of the Ascension of Christ, architecture of 1600. Next to the parish church, there is an ecclesiastical museum since 1987 that houses old icons of the local churches, church items, old books and vestments.
Karya, a beautiful village with houses of special beauty among the eucalyptus and pomegranates with a history from the Byzantine era. The folklore museum that exists here is remarkable.
Mountados, 4 km from Chora today is a picturesque village with a traditional settlement dating back 1000 years. It is the special homeland of the artists Lampakis and Platis.
The Two Villages, a name that came from the union of two settlements. The history of settlements starts back to the Middle Ages. The village is beautiful and built on a green and fertile slope with running water.
Falatados is one of the largest and most stately villages of Tinos existed from 1400. It is located east of Chora and here you will meet the imposing monastery of the Holy Trinity built in 1610 in the place where there used to be three small churches, Ag. Ioannis, of Ag. Vassilios and Ag. Trinity. The shrines are the work of K. Kaparias, the neoclassical pulpit of N. Perakis and the icons date from the 17th century.
The village is dominated by the marble church of St. John and the beautiful Cycladic square of Megalohari, while here there is a small folklore collection and ecclesiastical museum. In the village there are still many presses and raki distilleries.
Steni, is the largest village of Tinos, built west of Tsiknias. Remarkable monuments are the church of Agios Antonios with the wood-carved iconostasis of the 17th century, the magnificent epitaph and the old icons and the church of Agios Nikolaos.
Tripotamos, one of the oldest villages on the island with picturesque architecture with arches, stairs, galleries and cobbled streets. In Tripotamos, the custom of “Kavou” is celebrated at Christmas, which contains Proto-Christian, medieval and Mount Athos elements. The only industrial unit on the island, the cheese factory and the only pottery plant on the island still operate here.
In the beautiful village of Volakas you will be impressed by a lunar landscape with quirky granite boulders – a unique phenomenon all over the world – and you will admire up close the tradition of basket weaving.
In Ktikados, the arches, the cobbled alleys, the houses with the marble lintels and the old fountain with the stone laundry give a special beauty and picturesqueness.
In Xinara, the seat of the Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Tinos, is the cathedral of the Catholics of Tinos, dedicated to Panagia Rosariou.
In the “Palace of the Despot”, a large building of the 19th century, originally a seminary, houses now the “Faith and Culture Center”. Here is the museum of ecclesiastical relics, the archive of the Catholic parishes which is the oldest archive of Tinos and a radio station. The ground floor houses the City Hall of the Municipality of Exomburg.
In Loutra, a village built in a green environment, is the Monastery of Ursulines, which was founded in 1862 and today houses a folklore museum.
In Campos is the church of St. Catherine of 1775, with a wood-carved iconostasis and magnificent icons.
Komi, a beautiful green village, built over the river “Lazarou Perastras”. Its cathedral is the Church of St. John, with the icon painted by the Italian painter Galiardi. Rural village, which has a winery and produces vegetables, fruits, lemons, etc.
Kalloni, built on the edge of the Komi meadow, also a rural village.
Its church, Agios Zacharias, is a three-aisled basilica with a magnificent pebbled courtyard.
Kardiani is a beautiful (mountainous) village perched on the rocks with an amazing view of the sea, built in the 17th century, where the visitor will notice the use of marble in the construction of almost all houses. Attractions include the over a thousand-year-old church of Panagia Kioura (Kyra) Kardiani and the cemetery of the 9th-8th BC. century.
In Isternia, a settlement on the top of a hill with old mills and amazing sea view, you will see the monastery of Panagia Katapoliani of 1786, the church of Defteris Evreseos, Agia Paraskevi with the magnificent iconostasis, Agios Athanasios (one of the oldest churches of Tinos) and the Museum of Artists. In the bay of Isternia you will enjoy the sandy beach and the sea.
The home of the greatest Greek sculptor Giannouli Halepa operates as museum in the mansion Pyrgos, the largest and perhaps most picturesque village of Tinos, with cobbled streets, fountains, whitewashed houses with marble steps and lintels. The Museum of Tinian Artists of Pyrgos exhibits many works and mainly their plaster models. One of the most picturesque villages of the Cyclades is definitely the largest and most beautiful village of Tinos.
The first declaration of the Revolution took place in this village on March 31, 1821, with George Palamaris as its leader.
Place of birth of great artists and pioneers of the spirit such as the painter Nikiforos Lytras, the sculptors Dimitris Filippotis and Giannoulis Halepas and the composer Nikos Skalkotas.
There are also stone carving, wood carving and painting workshops.
The School of Marble Sculpture has been operating in the village since 1957.
In Panormos there is a cave with stalactites and stalagmites and iridescent phenomena of the little light that enters.
The rest of the villages are also elements of incomparable architecture and cultural heritage. With their remarkable religious monuments, their narrow alleys, traditional houses, they are an attraction for visitors to the island.
These are: Agapi, Aetofolia, Vernadados, Karkados, Kato Kleisma, Kechros, Koumaros, Krokos, Platia, Mamados & Marlas, Mesi, Monastiri, Monastiria, Mountados, Myrsini, Perastra, Potamia, Skalados, Sklavochorio, Smarthatiko, Tzados.
In Kampos and Tarabados you will see the most beautiful pigeon houses of the island. Masterpieces of the popular Cycladic architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries, with elaborate decorative designs in wonderful variations that combine functionality with beauty, making excellent use of the play of shadow and light.