TinosGuide.com I Travel Guide to Tinos island


Antiquity – Tinos was called Hydroussa and Ofioussa, because it had a lot of water [hydor] and snakes [ofis]. Its current name refers to its first inhabitant, Tinos, or to the Phoenician word tannoth (snake).
Phoenicians, Ionians, Persians, Athe-nians, Spartans, Macedonians, Egyptians and Romans have been on the island either as settlers, allies or conquerors. Before Tinos came under the Byzantine rule (325 AD), it was member of the Cycladic Federation, a Persian dominion, member of the Athe-nian coalition and a Roman province. Items from Myce-naean and geometric period were found on the island as well as traces of a prehistoric settlement (Vrekastro). Till 1934, the town was getting water from the Peisi-strateio water-reservoir (6th century BC). The ancient temples in Kionia, were dedicated to the god-protector of the island, Poseidon, and his companion Amfitritis.

Middle Ages – Byzantium – pirates’ attacks, destructive earthquakes, epidemics, unfair split of the land and high taxes: in the time of the Byzantine empire Tinos is suffering and decaying.

Middle Ages – Venetian Rule – under the Venetian rule (from 1204), Tinos is fortified (castle, fleet) so as to hold out the raids of the pirates and the Turks. And indeed, till 1715, Tinos didn’t go under Ottoman rule. On the contrary it was the start point for destructive raids against the Ottomans. Its geographic position, in the middle of the Aegean Sea, explains the Venetian persistence: whoever ruled Tinos, had the control over the Aegean. The Venetians’ long presence on the island explains the existence of an important Catholic community on the island today.
Turkish Rule – when, finally, the island surrendered to a military force of 25,000 soldiers and 140 ships (most probably due to its Commander’s wrong evaluation), Tinians received important privileges, such as the right to build churches and schools. The Turks’ presence was minimal. The island opened up to new markets (Balkans, Asia Minor) and flourishes, thanks to commerce and marble-sculpture. French, Russian, British, and Spanish ambassadors would visit the island from time to time. The inhabitants were influenced by the western lifestyle and Tinos was often referred to as Little Paris.

Modern history – Tinos took part in the revolution from the very beginning (31st March 1821). The discovery of Our Lady’s Icon (1823) is interpreted as a holy sign that the revolution is a fair and just thing to do, provoking deep emotions to the people. These deep emotions, this time together with indignation, are provoked again on 15th August 1940 by the bombing of Elli (military ship) by an Italian submarine, which marked the beginning of WWII in Greece. During German occupation, people suffered but do participate at the resistance movement with human resources and by radio-transmitting information to the Allies, causing important sabotages to the enemy. Through the small ports of Tinos, important political figures, like K. Karamanlis and G. Papandreou, escaped by ship.