Tinos and the other Cyclades islands fell into the hands of the Ghisi dynasty , the two brothers Andrew and Jeremiah Ghisi, who were aristocrats from Venice. Tinos was governed by Venetians until , long after the rest of Greece had fallen to the Turks, and the large number of Catholics on the island goes back to that period. Due to the fact that the island was under Venetian and not Ottoman rule at that period, it maintained a more advanced society than what was found on other islands in terms of art, culture, food production, agriculture, pottery and even the production of silk.
The island was also a place of refuge for people trying to escape the other parts of Greece which were occupied by the Turks. The Venetians also organized the fortress of Exobourgo, that used to be the island's capital at the time, to protect the island from the many pirates who preyed on all the islands of the Aegean. The architecture of Tinos in general is highly influenced by the period of Venetian domination. After repeated failed attempts, Tinos island was finally conquered by the Turks.
More specifically, in Janoum Hodge came with more than 25, men and 45 ships and occupied the island. This generated astonishment in Venice, since Tinos was known as a very powerful region with excellent defense, which was considered impenetrable. So, the island's governor was accused of bribery and was condemned to death with poison.
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Tinos is one of the very few regions, if not the only one, that had such a brief period of Ottoman domination in the 18th century. It ended in and during that period the island's capital was transferred to Chora. Even in that brief period however, life conditions had nothing to do with the conditions of subordination in other parts of Greece.
Tinians were allowed rights and privileges which were unheard of on other islands under Turkish occupation. They were the only people in the Ottoman empire not required to wear the red stockings, could wear local dress and were allowed to build churches and schools. The Turkish fleet was not permitted within 12 miles of Tinos and there were no permanent Turkish residents.
Even the representatives of the Ottoman government were rarely around. Though Turkish rule was almost non-existent compared to other parts of Greece, Tinians still left the island for the cities of Constantinople, Smyrna and Alexandria with their large Christian populations and economic opportunities. With all these Tinians in business in foreign ports the island became quite wealthy and was known as "Little Paris" with a population of almost 30, From to the island was occupied by the Russians.
Despite the fact that the Russians dominated Tinos for only 4 years, they restructured the island's defense and renovated the Kechrovounio Monastery and built the Saint Catherine's Church, but also destroyed many Catholic churches and monasteries. As the Ottoman empire began to decline, the privileges of the Tinians began to disappear. Tinos was actually the first Cycladic island to participate in the Revolution and contributed significantly to it. The inhabitants of the island with their wealth, culture, education and seafaring abilities played an important role in the Revolution giving ships, sailors and, of course, heroes.
Over 2, of them died in the war.
More than 12 Tinians were members of the "Filiki Eteria" "Friend's Society" , while the island was a valuable refuge for the persecuted Greeks and refugees, giving shelter to around 30, refugees who tried to be rescued from the vengeance of the Turks. The most important historic event of Tinos in the recent years is the miraculous finding of the Orthodox image of Virgin Mary on 30 January , after the vision of nun Pelagia concerning its position.
The discovery of Virgin Mary's holy icon was considered a blessing for the right and the success of the Revolution. Many of Greece's greatest heroes of the Revolution went to Tinos to pay respect to it, such as Kolokotronis, Kanaris, Miaoulis and Makriyannis. The image finding was followed by the construction of the Church devoted to Virgin Mary, from to , a church of unique architecture.
After the war, the town was established as a Pan-Hellenic religious centre and the church has been a meeting point for Christians from all over the world, with many miracles being recorded and many precious items being gifted to the Church as a token of gratitude to Virgin Mary.
The years that followed the completion of the Virgin Mary's Church in Chora were years of culture and artistic expression, with Tinos being the home town of many Greek artists and sculptors. On 15 August , on the day of the local religious festival for Virgin Mary, the Italian fleet with their submarine "Delfino" torpedoed the Greek ship "Elli" outside the port of Tinos killing 9 sailors and injuring 24, which led to Greece's involvement in the Second World War. During the period of the occupation and although there was much suffering since many people died from hunger, the island played an important role in the resistance, as a passageway out of the country for evacuating soldiers and as a source of information on German ship movement.
The foundation of the Church donated all its precious items to the Greek state for the provision of guns and supplies to the Greek army during the Albanian war. Today, Tinos is one of the most interesting islands in Greece attracting a large number of tourists, not only because of its grandiose church and all the religious tourism that this brings, but also thanks to its diverse landscapes, wonderful beaches, historic monuments, natural beauty and art.
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The island remains an important cultural spot, with sculpture and painting being developed and used even as part of the architecture. Among the numerous artists that are famous worldwide are painters like Nikolaos Gizis, Nikiforos Lytras, Nikolaos Gaitis also a sculptor and Frangiskos Dessypris, as well as famous sculptors such as Giannoulis Chalepas, Demetrios Filippotis, Lazaros Lameras and the Vitalis brothers.
Art is in the blood of the Tinians, who show a particular genius in getting inspired from what nature has to offer them. This has led to the emergence of a unique aesthetic that only in this island of the Cyclades can be found. Tinos has a long tradition of painting and sculpture which continues to this day. The island is a showcase for its marble artists, as evidenced by fountains, statues and adornments in and on churches and houses particularly window fanlights , a Tinos creation , whether the structure be humble or noble.
Some of the most exquisite artistry is to be found on the or more dovecotes sprinkled throughout the countryside, each handcrafted in a unique and complex design. And for those wishing to learn firsthand the technique of marble sculpture, there are regularly-scheduled classes conducted by one of the island's foremost sculptors. Additionally, there are several fine museums on the island, as well as a School of Fine Arts in the village of Pyrgos, which is one of the most important art schools in Greece and a "Mecca" for young artists from all over the world who go there to compete for scholarships to the Athens School of Fine Arts.
The emphasis on art is well-merited and is a continual source of pride and accomplishment for the numerous Tinian artists and sculptors who are known all over the world. As for the architecture , the houses on the island are built according to Cycladic architecture. White and blue dominate, with lintels decorating beautiful windows and doors, low profile windows, outdoor staircases connecting floors and the characteristic Kapatsos are only some of these styles.
And then, there's the food Tinos is rich in local products and its local cuisine, based on the famous healthy Mediterranean cuisine, is quite different from the other Cycladic Islands. Fresh fish , the famous Tinian veal and local agricultural products are the basis of Tinian kitchen. One should not forget to try the local sundried tomatoes , the local cheese called tiniako , the local capers , generously used in salads and in various dishes, the home-made pasta with tomato and basil, the meat products such as louza, siglino, wild rabbit, pigeon cooked in tomato sauce and sausages, and, of course, the famous wild artichokes.
Dishes with artichokes is another tasty specialty of Tinos, since the island produces a lot of them, of a high quality , especially in the area of Katomeri. Some of these delicious original dishes are artichoke omelette, artichoke salad, artichoke with liver and rice, artichoke with pasta, artichoke and rabbit and much more. Be sure to get the local artichokes in olive oil and lemon. One will never think of artichokes the same way again. Before serving, it is drained and it is usually accompanied with garlic sauce, oil and vinegar.
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After being dried for about two months louza is served cold in very thin slices. When the meat turns red, it is ready to be stored in jars made of clay. Moreover, there are delicious local deserts that one should try - apart from the excellent thyme honey , which is a must. Some of them are:. After they are baked, they are sprayed with rosewater and sprinkled with caster sugar.
This desert has a unique aromatic taste. Tsimbites are a mandatory dish for Easter. One should also try the famous custard-filled pastry called galaktomboureko in the coffee-pastry shop "To Kentrikon" in Pyrgos.
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All the above could be accompanied with one of the great local wines , the local tsipouro, ouzo and raki or, for the beer lovers, with Tinos' own artisanal Nissos Beer many visitors even take a 6 pack or two of Nissos Beer as a gift back home, sometimes combining it with a tour of the Nissos Brewery on the outskirts of town just off the road to Agios Ioannis.
For the cheese lovers, the Cheese Cooperative of Tinos has its factory in the village of Tripotamos and a shop on Megaloharis Avenue in Chora. Moreover, a local annual Gastronomy Festival is organized in Tinos, which is called "Tinos Foodpaths" and lasts for a week. However, even if one isn't so lucky to visit the island on the period when the festival takes place, feasts with plenty of food are all over the island all over the year.
The feasts in Tinos have nothing to do with exhibitions organized in the rest of Greece, or the celebration of the Assumption of Virgin Mary on August Most of the houses on the island have their own chapel and on the name day of the Saint of each chapel , the inhabitants open their yards to the public , so that both fellows and visitors can go in to visit the chapel and then take a treat. Tables are set in each yard, all women of the village cook one traditional dish and all visitors are welcome to get into the yards of the houses, pay a visit to the church, eat local food and sweets, drink local wine, raki or tsipouro and sometimes even dance if the feast turns out this way and the local instruments and singers are there.
The houses that celebrate welcome guests until late in the evening. Such feasts take place almost every day on the island, since the chapels of the island are around 1,, and it is a unique experience for those who participate in any way!
A thousand more miracles are just waiting to be discovered on this island of the Cyclades: beaches — both secluded and organised — for scuba diving and surfing, local delicacies, lunar landscapes and pilgrims crawling up to Our Lady of Tinos on their knees. Once visitors get to know the island, they too will become believers Some of the many things the island has to offer could be found below. But that's wrong. Behind the quay lies an entire insular town which retains many of the 19th century elements.
While wandering in the alleys the visitor will discover arches, old mansions and churches, villas with large gardens, glens and fountains, cobblestone paths and houses with blazons, all showing the urban development of the town in the period between the 18th and 19th century and proving a past economic and social prosperity. The old road leading to Megalochari the church of Virgin Mary , a paved pedestrian road full of little shops constructed in the middle of the 19th century is also interesting.
The new wider road, accessible to cars, was constructed later, in the 50s. It is worth visiting the Textile School , the chapel of St. The Church of Virgin Mary at Chora is the most famous and among the most grandiose churches in Greece. It was built between and on the spot where the Orthodox Image of Virgin Mary was found, after a vision of nun Pelagia who was later acknowledged as a Saint.
The spacious temple is of traditional architecture with many arches and consists of a two-floor building and many smaller buildings in its courtyard, which house artistic objects, ecclesiastic items and other precious historic objects. The Evangelistria Church is known as one of the most miraculous in Greece, since many people with serious illnesses have been cured after praying to Virgin Mary in this Church.
This is why, many Christians from different parts of the world return to the Church every year to thank Virgin Mary, offer precious items made of silver and gold to the Church and most of them arrive from the port to the Church on their knees, as a token of gratitude. This is a unique image and revives at large on August 15th, which is a glorious day of celebration for the whole island.
Apart from kneeling and feeling the amazing energy of the temple though, visitors have also the opportunity to admire works of art of renowned painters and sculptors, as well as objects that were important for the Greek history in the venues around the courtyard of the Church. There, one can admire the works of various Tinian artists, like paintings of N. Ghisis, Nikif. Lytras, G. Roilos, G.
Renieris, G. Gaitis, and sculptures of G. Halepas, L. Sohos, D.
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