Last week I heard on the radio about the new trends of 2020. It will be trendy to measure our breath and our inner well-being next year. However there are communities where the inner soul and simple living have been in focus for centuries. Lets discover Tinos island of the island group Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. Only twenty minutes by ferry from Mykonos but still unknown for foreigners. On the other hand its well known in Greece as over one million pilgrims make a visit here every year. Every greek will visit the island at least once to see the Holy Church Panagia in the capital of Tinos.
How to get here
You will reach Tinos with ferry from Pireus or the port of Rafina in Athens. Depending if you take the fast ferry or regular you will reach the island in 2-3 or 4-5 hours. The nearest airport is located in Mykonos. If you want to discover the islands near Tinos there are direct connections to Andros, Mykonos, Syros, Paros and Santorini with the ferry.
This little island has 52 villages, 41 beaches, 650 pigeon houses and at least 750 churches according to what I heard and discovered on the web. Amazing but probably true…
This island has been inhabited since ancient times and since then various nationalities has conquered the island from the Persians to Alexander the Great. The island has also belonged to the Roman Empire and times when pirates ravaged here. In the 13th century the island was conquered by the Venetians. Many inhabitants converted to Catholicism to retain their lands. But there was a law that allowed you to keep the land if you had a church within your landmark, therefore the orthodox population built a lot of churches. During the Ottoman era the island becomes a small metropolis and is called Little Paris. As the trade flourishes with Constantinople and other cities in the Mediterranean is at that time the most populated island in the Cycladic group.
Art, culture & food
Tinos is also the island of arts as many famous painters and sculptors are born here. The painter Nikiforos Lytras and the sculptors Giannoulis Chalepas, Fillipotis Dimitrios among other artists are born in the most picturesque village Pyrgos. Another famous painter is Nikolaos Gyzis from Sklavochorio village. Many of the artists studied in Munich and became famous outside Greece. The fact that Tinos has been an island with quarries of white and green marble since ancient times has given the Tinians an excellent reputation in Greece and abroad. Around the island and specially in Pyrgos you see great work made of marble. Extra interesting is also Giannoulis Chalepas story and his home is now a museum in Pyrgos along with the Museum of Marble Crafts.
You don’t see many trees in the landscape as the Cycladic islands are very windy. There are few green areas in Tinos, so what grows here often are capers, figs, artichokes and some specials grapes as the soil is dry. However Tinians love their land and have great gastronomy and great cuisine to normal greek prices. Wine from the winyards along with the green kitchen and seafood makes you definitely want to stay here longer. Every year in the second week of May Tinians arrange a food festival, don’t miss Tinosfoodpaths if you are nearby.
When you travel through the island you also notice the small pigeon houses decorated with stars, circles, flowers or the initials of the owner. The breeding of pigeons began with the Venetians. If you had a pigeon house you were wealthy.
Did you like this post? You will find more photos and stories of Tinos and Greece on my Instagram account @photogrid.by.me .