Tinos Architecture

Tinos, the island of art, is home to numerous architectural and artistic treasures which make it a living museum. The abundance of natural materials like marbles and rare rocks has influenced Tinos' architecture and the artistic mood of the locals in the construction and restoration of many houses. The art of marble-carving flourished greatly in Tinos during the 19th century and genuine examples of this art can be seen in many buildings, fountains, churches, and cemeteries.

The original Cycladic architecture of the island is apparent in the surrounding villages (Pyrgos) and the beautiful town with whitewashed houses, narrow alleys, lovely squares, and beautiful churches. The main characteristic of Tinos is the lack of fortifications, despite the fact that the Venetians occupied the island for many centuries, Tinos remained authentically Greek, with only a few exceptions such as the Castle of Exombourgo and some marble columns that characterize some structures and nice churches.

The Tinian houses are a characteristic sample of traditional architecture, standing out for its simplicity and functionality. Small with a few windows and storage rooms, Tinos' houses are painted in total white and blue according to the Cycladic layout. Most of the island's traditional settlements were founded in the 17th century and their architecture was greatly influenced by pirate invasions which forced the locals to abandon their houses in the countryside and move within the town, a major reason that the houses are built very close to one another, creating a fortified wall to protect their territory.

Tinos island is a major religious center since the antiquity with an abundance of churches spread out in the island. With more than a thousand Orthodox and Catholic churches, Tinos plays an important role in the ecclesiastical architecture of Greece. Using fine materials like marble and stone, local craftsmen created some beautiful artistic works within and outside the town, the villages and in the peaceful countryside. Many of them were built during the Byzantine years and they can still be seen in their original form. The most important is the Church of Panagia Evagelistria, located on top of the town.

The villages and green valleys of Tinos are surrounded by the marvelous dovecotes, where pigeons find refuge. They were built during the 18th and 19th century and their beautifully decorated facades, look like fine embroideries if they are seen from a distance. Today, they are considered the trademark of Tinos along with the old-style windmills. The beautiful aspects of Tinos' architecture can be noticed in many things.

Visitors can enjoy their stay in many of the traditional hotels that have respected the traditional Cycladic architecture.