Tinos island is in the Cyclades archipelago that consists of 26 islands. Near neighbours, each with very distinct characteristics, include Andros, Mykonos and the 'museum island' Delos.
Tinos is a Greek island of immense beauty and cultural richness that has escaped the ravages of uncontrolled development through strict planning regulations imposed by far-sighted authorities. Every one of the 60 or so towns and villages have been designated as heritage sites, to preserve the architectural character of Tinos Island and to protect the beauty of this jewel in the Aegean for generations to come.
The Greek Cyclades enjoy a strategic position in the Aegean Sea, with Tinos Island located in the central Aegean area mid-way between the mainland of Greece and Turkey. Its beautiful climate and its strategic location has brought Tinos Island prominence from the earliest times.
ANTIQUITY AND HISTORY
Greek mythology tells how Ophiousa, as Tinos was then known, was freed from the curse of snakes by Poseidon, God of the seas and rivers. Other theories attribute the name to the first Ionians, or to its renown for the production of garlics.
Tinos history has been defined by conflicts and occupations, underscored by the spirited Tinians (Tenians) who fought for their independence. Caught between the Greeks and Persians in the 5th Century Persian Wars, Tinos played a crucial part in the Greek's victory. Her unique location later caused conflicts with pirates and at various times it was annexed by the Athenians, Spartans, Romans and the Venecian empire. The Turkish extended their rule to include Tinos after their conquest of Constantinople, granting favours to the Tinians due to their spirited resistance. The Island was later occupied by the Russians and finally achieved independence as late as 1821, with its people subsequently suffering great hardships during World War II.
This turbulent history has endowed Tinos with a rich legacy of artifacts, buildings and archaeological remains throughout the length and breath of the island.
PILGRIMAGES TO THE 'LOURDES OF THE MEDITERRANEAN'
Tinos is a place of great beauty and tranquillity that sustains a strong religious culture for Catholics and the Orthodox. A number of factors have led Tinos Island to be known as 'Holy Island', with an Act of the Greek Parliament confirming the island's sacred status in 1971. Foremost among these reasons was the discovery of the Holy Icon of Virgin Mary through a vision seen by St. Pelagia. The Church of the Annunciation was built on this spot and waters miraculous started to flow into what had been a dry well.
Each year, pilgrims flock to the town of Tinos to visit the Church of the Virgin Mary with its miraculous Icon.
Another principal pilgrimage is to the Lady of the Angels Holy Monastery for nuns at Kechrovouni. This Monastery resembling a small village, which has provided uninterrupted service for over 1000 years, is currently the subject of an international fund for total restoration. The developer of these properties has a strong personal interest and drive for the preservation of Tinos Island's heritage.
In addition to these revered churches and the monastery, Tinos Island also has numerous shrines and smaller churches, totalling well over 2,000 for a population of only 12,500 and with almost two thirds living in the port of Tinos.
While agriculture plays a prominent part in the Tinos Island economy, the quarrying and working of Marble is also an important industry. Stonemasons are working the marble today in much the same manner as their forefathers did in previous centuries. The high quality of the Tinos marble has been exported for use in fine buildings around the world and can be found in such illustrious buildings as London's Buckingham Palace and the Louvre in Paris. Their craftsmanship can also be seen closer to home in churches and town buildings throughout the island.
ISLAND OF ARTISTS
Tinos is also known as the 'Island of Artists' as it supports a thriving literary and artistic community, no doubt inspired by the clear seas, beautiful scenery, quality of light and the cultured tones of an island where religion is a very important aspect of daily life. This cultured environment is one of the many reasons why Tinos Island is a favoured holiday destination for Greeks.
Tinos Island comprises approximately 200 square miles, with its principal town and port Tinos to the South. Daily transport services are provided by both high speed boat and car ferries. Faster transfer times from the Greek mainland can be achieved by flying first to Mykonos or Syros, the capital of the Cyclades region.
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