Cyclades-Tinos

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General Information for Tinos

Tinos The closest island to Andros is Tinos - the fourth largest of the Cyclades - known as the Lourdes of Orthodoxy. It is the island that remains traditional, preserving its local customs, the insular architecture of its villages and the genuine hospitality of the islanders. Besides the Church of Panaghia Evangelistria the island is distinguished by its unspoiled villages - in their cycladic style, yet Medieval tone - its luxuriantly verdant areas, its terraced meadows, countless churches and fancy dovecotes. It is a landscape complete of unpredictable changes in the midst of light and dimness, the naked rocks and the wooded valleys the remote hills and the hidden seashores. The all kinds of shores - some remote others very near, some sandy, others rocky but very clear and attractive - promise you the perfect place to spend restful, enjoyable vacations. This island is not fully appreciated for its natural beauty and understandably so, since the majority of visitors come to Tinos as pilgrims to the Church of Panaghia (Virgin Mary) and leave immediately, without having the opportunity to be charmed by the incomparable attractiveness of this colorful place. Stay for few days and you will unquestionably fall in love with it. According to mythology Tinos was the island of the god of winds Aeolos, and its ancient name was Hydroussa and Ophioussa - due to the plentiful water and numerous snakes that were roaming the island. The Church of the Blessed Virgin, in Tinos Town, was erected to house the icon, which was discovered in 1822 after an old nun had a vision of Panaghia who directed that a church be built on the same site where a Christian church - with an icon painted by Saint Luke - previously existed.

While digging, a construction worker struck a buried wooden item, which turned out to be one half of the icon, later on the other half was found and when assembed it proved to be that old icon of the Annunciation of Virgin Mary.

The holy island of Greek Orthodoxy, the largest religious center of the country, attracts great numbers of worshippers all year round but especially on Annunciation Day, March 25th, and August 15th on the Assumption of the Virgin (avoid the latter, the island is extremely congested). Any other time your visit will be most enjoyable. The majestic church dominates Tinos town - the island's capital and port - and looks magnificent on its elevated place in the center of town. Within the church complex there are museums with religious artifacts and the works of well known artists. Below the church you can observe the crypt where the icon was found. The church is open from 8am to 8pm.

The scenery changes at night, there are restaurants and tavernas for all tastes and preferences. Try the specialities of the island: native cheeses, barbecued sausages (psita loukanika) and smoked pork (louzes). Enjoy fresh fish at: O Dionysos Ksinari and Rothia, among others.
Be entertained having a drink at the numerous bars: Koursaros, Palazzo, Papyros, La Casa, Sivylla, etc.
Eat delicious loukoumathes (fried dough in honey) at Mesklies and Xemparko. Some of the most idyllic villages to visit: Kionia; Ktikados; Steni; (a must stop at the monastery of Kehrovouniou - one of the largest and most beautiful in the country - where you will see the cell of the nun (Pelaghia) who led the people to the site of the icon).

From this village you could visit: Kary, Kehro, Messi and Falatathos very traditional and primitive, intact from civilization and its destructive consequences. The Two Villages (Ta Thio Horia) north, Triantaros and Berthemiaros, dominate with the splendor of the cycladic color.

Volax (Volakas) a dirt road will take you to this lunar landscape with huge smooth, shining granite stones. Pyrgos or Panormos, drowned in greenness and marble, where you can find everywhere. Seashores: Near the town: Stavros; Aghios Markos; Kionia; a little further out the charming: Aghios Sostis; Ai-Yiannis; Porto

Good beaches you will also find at the bays of Karthianis and Isternion; Aghios Nikitas and Halakies. Panormos, very good sandy beach, in the northern part, and Kolymvethra, north-eastern.

In the eastern part you will enjoy the two good seashores, located near Lyhyaftia and Phero Horio. The Catholic Churches around the island - heritage of the long Venetian rule - are one of the most important points of interest and clearly demonstrate the existence of a large Roman Catholic community on the island. Tinos is also the homeland of many famous artists.