Tinos is located in the Cyclades archipelago. In ancient times, Tinos was also known as Ophiussa (from ophis, Greek for snake) and Hydroessa (from hydor, Greek for water). The closest islands are Andros, Delos, and Mykonos. It has a land area of approximately 194 square kilometres and a 2001 census population of 8,574 inhabitants. It is comprised of the municipalities of Tinos (pop. 5,203) and Exomvourgo (2,692) plus the community of Panormos (679).
Between 1207 and 1715, Tinos was in Venetian hands. From 1715 to 1821, Tinos was ruled by the Ottoman Empire before joining with Greece.
Tinos is famous amongst Greeks for: the Church of Panagia Evangelistria, its 20 or so windmills, about 1000 artistic dovecotes, 50 active villages and its Venetian fortifications at the mountain, Exobourgo. On Tinos, both Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic populations co-exist, and the island is also well known for its famous sculptors and painters, such as Nicholaos Gysis, Yianoulis Chalepas and Tsokles.
The island is located near the geographical center of the Cyclades island complex, and because of the Panagia Evangelistria church, with its reputedly miraculous icon of Virgin Mary that it holds, Tinos is also the center of a yearly pilgrimage that takes place on the date of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary (August 15, "Dekapentavgoustos" in Greek). This is perhaps the most notable and still active yearly pilgrimage in the region of the eastern Mediterranean. Many pilgrims make their way the 800 metres from the ferry wharf to the church on their hands and knees as sign of devotion. The day also commemorates the 1940 sinking of the Greek cruiser Elli by an Italian submarine on August 15, 1940 at Tinos's harbor.
The island's mineral resources include marble, Verde antico, asbestos and a granite mine near Volakas (also known as Volax).
Tinos has a varied landscape. From the shores of Panormos and Kolimbithra on the North Shore to Kionia, Agios Yannis O Portos, and Agios Sostis on the Southern Shore, Tinos has many beaches, just to name a few. Tsiknias is the highest mountain on the island at 750 meters and hides the quaint village of Livada. The mountain of Exobourgo is quite distinct, and unlike its more rounded Cycladic neighbors, has a more jagged appearance that is more home in the Alps. Between Tsiknias and Exobourgo lies the fruitful plain of Falatados. This area is unique on the island as its relatively flat (yet with an elevation of ~ 300 metres) terrain is rare on the island. This made it a strong candidate for an as of yet inbuilt airport on the island. The Meltemi winds and valid concerns of local villagers of the towns of Falatados, and Steni have all but halted the project. The area around Volax is a surreal and very unusual landscape with giant boulders some the size of multistory buildings. The village of Volax lies at the center of this amazing landscape. To the west, the mountains surrounding Pyrgos are full of some of the most beautiful green marble in all of Greece.
All around the island of Tinos, the islanders have made the most incredible things out of stone. The hills are all terraced with stone walls; every little village is connected to its most proximate neighbors by stone walkways set between a parallel set of stone walls.
The climate of Tinos
Tinos experiences a Mediterranean climate and has warm and dry summers and mild and wet winters.
Getting around on Tinos
Tinos has three ports, one for passenger speed boats, and two for ferries and highspeed boats which carry passengers and cars to other ports, including Mykonos (35 min), Piraeus, Rafina, Andros and Syros.
What to see on Tinos:
Panagia Evangelistria tis Tinou
Panagia Evangelistria of Tinos (also in Greek Megalochari tis Tinou) is a major Marian shrine in Greece. It is located in the town of Tinos.
The complex is built around a miraculous icon which according to tradition was found after the Virgin appeared to St. Pelagia and designated to her the place where her icon was buried. The icon is widely believed to be the source of numerous miracles.
The icon was found on the very first days of the creation of the modern Greek State, henceforth Panagia Evangelistria of Tinos was declared the patron saint of the Greek nation. Since then Tinos constitutes the major christian pilgrimage in Greece equal to what is Lourdes in France or Fatima in Portugal.
The major feast of the church is on 15 August when the Dormition of the Virgin Mary (Theotokos) is commemorated by the Greek Orthodox Church.
Things to do on Tinos:
Komi, a small village on the island of Tinos, is part of the municipality Exomvourgo. It has a well-known Catholic church, and offers beautiful Cycladic type architecture. Every year, on August 29th, a big party is held there, with visitors from various parts of Greece and even foreigners.