Sites & Villages
CHORA OF TINOS
The town of Tinos was formerly also called “Limani“ or Chora of Agios Nikolaos, after the old church close to the old port. During Venetian time it was just a small settlement, as the capital was the town of Exombourgo. “Limani” was the port and commercial centre. After the destruction of the castle by the Turks, Chora started to develop and many Tinians settled here. Another motivation was the discovery of the icon of the Virgin Mary, and the construction of the big church. Especially during the past few decades the town grew rapidly. There are many tourist facilities along the seaside including hotels, restaurants, cafés and shops attracting both tourists and locals. If you leave the coastal road and walk through the small streets, you will see old stone houses with all the features of traditional Cycladic architecture, small blossoming gardens, picturesque chapels and churches.
Two main streets lead up from the sea to the Church of the Panagia lined with numerous shops and stalls offering souvenirs and religious ware (candles up to 1,80 meters, small pictures of the icon, holy water etc.) . They are both closed for traffic at night.
The small archeological museum (at Megalocharis Avenue 08:00 – 15:00 Tuesday to Sunday) exhibits clay pottery, household items from various periods, grave reliefs, sculptures and discoveries from the Poseidon temple and the excavations in the Exombourgo area.
The Cultural Foundation is a congress and exhibition centre located at the east end of the seaside road in Chora. It houses the permanent exhibition of Yannoulis Chalepas, one of the most important Greek sculptors. Yiannoulis Chalepas was born in the middle of the 19th century in the village of Pyrgos. His talent for marble sculpture was discovered very soon. His father was a marble carver. He studied in the School of fine Arts in Athens, and then in that of Munich. The best known work is “The sleeper”, which he created from just one photograph of a young girl. The exhibition shows sculptures and drawings from all periods of his life. There are also seasonal exhibitions, a library and a café.
The real centre of the town and of the whole island is the Church of the Evangelismos Theotokou (Naos this Pangias, Church of Panagia Evangeslistria), is located uphill at the end of Leoforos Megalocharis and Evangelistrias which start at the old port.
The history of this church began with a series of visions that different people had of the Virgin Mary. But only the vision of the nun Pelagia of the convent Kechrovouni on the 9th of July 1822 led to the discovery of the icon. In her vision the nun was told by the Virgin Mary to go to a certain field above the town and to discover an icon and to build a church. Another vision occurred to the nun on the 23th of July. After telling the bishop about these visions, diggings started and a church was erected dedicated to the Zoodochos Pigi on the remains of a medieval chapel that itself once stood on the site of a Dionysos temple. While constructing this church the holy icon of the Annunciation of the Mother of God, a masterpiece of the earliest Christian years, was found on the 30th January 1823. A dry well began to give forth water and gave the name to the church. Legend wants it to be from the Evangelist Luke.
Contributions from all over Greece helped to build this church from the marble of the Panormos quarries. It is an architectural piece of art. The complex lies within a courtyard surrounded by arcades. The exterior courtyard is paved with artfully designed pebbles. Right below the main church is the chapel where the icon was originally found. (Celebration every year on the 30th of January). In the main church left of the entrance there is the iconostasis with hold the holy icon. The whole church is covered with dedications of the faithful.
Twice a year the church of the Annunciation celebrates. On the 25th of March and the 15th of August. Once again Tinos has become a centre for religious pilgrimage like in ancient times. Again asked are the healing powers of the worshipped.
The big building actually houses two churches as mentioned before: The church of the Pangaia and the church of the Eureseos (the finding) dedicated to the Zoodochos Pigi.
The Mausoleum of “Elli” the Greek warship torpedoed on the 15th of August 1940 lies here as well to commemorate the dead. A piece of the torpedo is kept here.
The church and the surrounding buildings belong to the sacred Foundation of Evangelistra. This Foundation has made important contributions to the development of Tinos and its culture. It give scholarships for Tinian artists, organizes exhibitions etc.
The following museums are located in the wider complex of the Panagia Evangelistria
Antonios Sochos Museum
Located on the ground floor of the east wing. Exhibition of the academy Antionos Sochos. Wood carvings and stone sculptures in classical and modern style. 19th and 20th century.
Tinian Artists Museum
Also this is one of the museums of the Foundation of Evangelistria. It contains many representative works of the island´s artists, of whom many were supported by the Foundation. Sculptures and paintings of the artists Yiannoulis Chalepas, Georgios Vidalis, Fytalis etc. Impressive the one of the famous freedom fighter Kolokotronis.
Located left of the entrance. Exhibits more than 100 paintings made by famous artists.
Ecclesiastical Relicts and Icons
It contains church relicts, icons of the 18th and 19th century and wood carvings.
Located on the first floor on the right side of the church. It contains a collection of gospel books, icons, crosses, chalices and priestly investments. There are two outstanding objects:
A gold embroidered epitaph of the year 1833 and a blessing cross made of gold silver and enamel with tiny scenes carved in wood.
The towns market and shopping area is concentrated around the two big streets leading up to the church. In Evangelistrias Avenue you find art galleries of local artists and a marble water fountain from the year 1798. There are shops with candles in all sizes and incense from Lebanon, Cyprus or Izmir.
Especially around the big church festivals you can see people crawl on their hands and knees up to the holy icon all the way of Megalochoris Avenue. Protection pads for the knees are on sale as well.
Tinos town has two ports. At the old port (at beginning of Megalocharis, Pantanassis square) smaller ferries, at the new port (500 meters from the old port) dock the car ferries. Check from which port your ship is leaving, to avoid to be forced to run with your luggage from one port to the other.
Agia Triada – Monastery
Located close to Chora. Take the road to Agios Ioannis Porto, and shortly after the crossing follow the sign to the left. The old monastery of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) is located on a beautiful site. The monastery was founded in the year 1744. During the Turkish occupation the monks ran a school. The church has a notable iconostasis and icons from the 18th century. There is a small folk art museum with skylights manufactured from marble – a typical feature of Tinian architecture.
Arnados – Village
Arnados is the highest village of Tinos, close to the Convent of Kechrovouni. Built amphitheatrically it offers spectacular views. The Ecclesiastical Museum of Arnados, operating since 1987, is located next to the church the Analipsis. It has old icons, ecclesiastical items, old books and clerical vestments.
Picturesque small village, close to Ktikados with view to the sea over (north) of Kionia. Quiet village with white houses, paved streets, dominated by the dome of the Church of the Holy Trinity (Agia Triada).
This massive rock mountain in the centre of Tinos – 540 meters – has been used since ancient times. Artifacts from an acropolis (end of the 2nd millennium BC) were found and can be viewed in the Archeological Museum. Excavations discovered a temple (8th century BC) dedicated to the Goddess Demeter. The Venetian built a strong fortress here which resisted the Turks until 1715 and was destroyed after. There is an easy footpath starting at the Catholic church “I lera kardia tou Jesu” (Sign on the main road). The view from the top of the mountain is very impressive.
Fatalos is one of the oldest still inhabited villages of Tinos, dating back to about 1400. It was built on the mountain slope facing Kechrovouni. Stroll trough the narrow streets, enjoy a meal in one of the tavernas. The church of the Holy Trinity (Agia Triada) is impressive with icons dating back to the 17th century. There is also a folklore museum in the village.
Festivals are held in September during the raki-making season. There are a number of wine-presses and raki stills.
The Franciscan Monastery is located close to the villages of Tzados and Mesi, east of the Exombourgo.
It was destroyed by a fire in 1927 and was never rebuilt. However, in the past it played an important role in the island.
This village lies 22 kilometers north of Chora on the slopes of Mount Meroviglia. The houses are built in the characteristic style, the streets are paved with marble and you have a magnificent view over the sea and the island of Syros. Isternia was the home of important sculptors like Vitalis and Lamera. The Ormos Isternion (beach) is connected to the village by a marble paved road. At the nearby Mylos there are impressive ruins of windmills.
The Jesuit Monastery was the first of the three catholic monasteries on Tinos founded in 1661.
Inside the monastery there is a small folklore museum.
Nice view to the beach of Kolymbithra from the promenade with a pebble mosaic. It lies in a fertile village with olive groves and gardens full of vegetables and fruit trees.
In Kampos one can see a traditional washhouse that is still in use. There are two noteworthy churches in the village.
Kardiani is located on the slopes of Mount Pateles under the main road to Pirgos . It is the greenest village of the island with plenty of trees, gardens with an abundance of flowers, narrow cobbled streets, alleyways, white-washed houses and arches. A small stream runs through the village. Beneath the foundations of the church Kioura (Our Lady) water runs from a spring. A road leads down to the beautiful Yannaki beach.
Karkados is a small village with an ancient copper mine in the vicinity.
Kechros is located east of the Exombourgo, close to Tzados and Mesi. The Church of the Panagia Eleous has a carved wooden rood screen.
Convent of Kechrovouni
This convent is located 500 meters from the village of Arnados on a mountain slope and reachable by bus (Steni line). The date of its foundation is not certain. Tradition though dates it in the 10th or 11th century. It is one of the largest and finest of Greece. Legend tells us that three women had a vision in which a lady appeared and told them to built three cells on this mountain where there were already three churches. The cells of the convent are virtually independent houses built in traditional style giving the place the impression of a Cycladic village. The history of the convent has been closely linked to the church of Tinos since it happened here that the nun Pelagia had her vision of the holy icon. Near to her cell a church was erected to celebrate the vision every 23rd of July. There are about 50 nuns in the convent. You can find a museum with old icons (18th and 19th century) and a handicraft workshop.
This convent is one of the four that did not close despite of the declaration of King Otto in the year 1834 that ordered the closing of the monasteries.
Kionia – Temple of Poseidon and Amphitrite
Kionia lies approx. 3 kilometers west of Chora. This beautiful area with its sandy beach attracts a lot of holiday makers every year. Along the costal road there are numerous rooms to rent, tavernas and cafés. Important archaeological remains have been found in this part. Most important are the remains of a temple dedicated to the God Poseidon (see history section) that dates back to 5th century BC. During the 3rd century BC the temple was extended, to include an altar for wife Amphitrite, who was worshipped there. It was believed that she would cure infertile women who sought refuge to her. It was an important centre for many pilgrims who sought cure or stopped to purify themselves on the way to Delos. Religious ceremonies were held in January and February. The temple was destroyed with the introduction of Christianity in the 4th century AD. Unfortunately, only the marble fountain of Poseidon, statues of Poseidon and Amphitrite, inscriptions and the sun dial of the astronomer Andronicus of Macedonia were discovered.
This open air museum can be visited daily except Monday 08:30 – 15:00. At the entrance you find a map with descriptions for orientation. Remains of the temple, its propylaia, altar, bases of statues and baths are to be seen.
This picturesque village lies in the mountains approx. 12 kilometers from the port. It marks the beginning of a fertile valley that stretches down to the sea. Footpaths lead from here to the village of Perastra. Short outside the village is the crossroads to the village of Agapi and the shrine of Vourniotissa.
It located in the center of the island, 9 kilometers from the port. It is known for its abundance of flowers and tavernas serving local delicacies.
Picturesque village north or Kionia (there is a footpath from Kionia to Ktikados). It is a traditional village with amazing view. There are two churches in this village, one at the entrance with remarkable marble works. Nice taverna with good local dishes.
Loutra is located below the main road to Komi, 9 kilometers from the port. If you walk all the way through the village you will find the small folklore museum which is housed in the Jesuit Monastery. The Ursuline Convent, only a few meters far, was founded in 1862 and was used as a school. Guided tours are offered to explore the inside of the building. There is an exhibition of handmade products, and documents pertaining to the everyday life of the nuns and the pupils at the Convent.
The small village of Mesi lies east of the Exombourgo at the central crossroads.
Abandoned village between Krokos and Komi (on the right side above the main road), with the church of Saint Joseph.
The old village of Myrsini lies in the area around Fatalos, east of the Exombourgo. From here you can walk up to the highest mountain (725 meters) of Tinos, the Tsinikas known as the home of Aeolos (God of the Winds).
This monastery is located in the mountains above the village of Isternia. Take the turn to the right after the windmills. It was built in the years 1780 and 1785. According to tradition a nun saw a light on the hill. When she went to see what it was, she found the ruins of an old church and the monastery was erected there.
It is built on both sides of the homonym river. You can see old stone bridges, water mills and the ruins of an olive press. It is located between Krokos and Komi.
Pirgos is located in the North part of the island, 24 kilometers from Chora on the way to Panormos. This was the place where in 1821 the banner of the revolution was raised for the first time in Tinos. Everything in the village is about marble and art, even in the cemetery. Walking through this village with the white washed houses with marble stairs and lintels, tiny marble inlays in the streets illustrating anchors, ships, shells, dolphins and many symbols, you get an understanding why this is the birthplace of so many artists. The house of the famous sculptor Chalepas is in this village and was turned into a museum. The museum of Tenian Artists is next door exhibiting important works like “Girls on a Rock” (Georgos Vamvakis) and the “Fisherman” (Dimitrion Filippolis). There is also the School of Fine Arts, operating since 1955 with emphasis on marble sculpturing.
This village in a secluded position on the east side of Tinos is built on the slopes of Mount Tsiknia. Further down to the coast are the beaches of Santa Margarita and Lychnaftia.
Skalados lies north of the Exombourgo. It is a small village with impressive view to the massive rock of the mountain.
Between Krokos and Komi on the right side, about 3 kilometers from the main road. Gyzis, one of the most important modern Greek artists, was born in this village. Noteworthy is the church, the small Catholic Church at the entrance and the public washhouse bearing the date 1828.
It is a traditional village that remains unchanged since centuries. There is a lot of water from an ancient spring. The church of Agios Anthonios has an interesting icon. There starts a footpath to Komi.
Steni lies in the area around Falatados, east of the Exombourgo. In the church of Agios Antonios are icons from the 17th and 18th century on the wooden carved iconostasis. In the church of Agios Nikolaos you can see a marble altar. Dirt roads lead down to the coast to the beaches at Santa Margarita, Faneromeni and Agios Dimitrios.
This village lies between Kambos and Smardakito, west of the Exombourgo. It was founded in 1700 hand has a number of worth seeing dovecots.
Triantaros lies north-east of Chora on the slope of the mountain and offers breathtaking views. It has a strong foreign community but kept the traditional style. The church of Agioi Apostoloi (Holy Apostles) has a large pebbled courtyard built in the year 1887.
The village of Tripotamos is located north of Chora on the foothills of the Exombourgo. It is a quiet old village with cobbled paths, white-washed houses and arcades.
The village of Volax lies in a unique landscape dotted with natural monoliths, remainders of a volcanic eruption. The white houses are built onto these giant round granite blocks. There are two well-known tavernas. The church of the Panagia has a big celebration on Easter Thursday. Traditional products are handmade woven baskets. A footpath leads down the valley to Agapi.
Xinara is and old traditional village located on the west side of Mount Exombourgo. The town hall of the Community of Exombourgo was built in this village.
The Panagia Rodariou (1860-1870) is a catholic Cathedral is next to the seat of the Catholic Archbishopric. This building houses the Catholic Archives of Tinos. These archives contain thousands of documents on the history of the Cyclades. Many of the papers go back as far as the 15th and 16th century. The museum shows ecclesiastical relics.
Also the church of Agioi Petros and Pavlos (Peter and Paul) is a fine example of traditional Tenian architecture.
This village is located in the North of the island, east of Komi (2 kilometers). In this secluded valley you can find numerous dovecots. At the end of the road there is the monastery of Vourniotissa.
The convent of Agias Xeni
Located 2 kilometers east of the village Marlas in the north-west corner of Tinos. The church was built in the 18th century and offers a panoramic view. Two tombs of the Mycenean and Geometric period were discovered in the area.
Churches of Tinos
In Tinos you will find numerous churches from both the Orthodox and Catholic traditions. Even in the remotest valley a church or chapel was built. Up to the present day, it is a tradition to celebrate on the church´s feast day. The erection of so many churches was due to the deep religious belief of the population as well as the historical past of the long presence of the Venetians. Important Orthodox churches among others are the Taxiarch in Chora, Agios Antonios in Steni, Agia Aikaterini in Kambos and Agios Dimitrios in Pirgos. Fine Catholic examples are the Agios Nikolaos in Chora, Agios Zacharias in Kalloni and the Cathedral of the Panagia of Rodari in Xinara.