Tinos Civilization: Information about the Civilization of Tinos
Tinos is the island of
art and beauty. It hides architectural and artist treasures. Nature
has provided it with an abundance of appropriate elements, such
as green and white marble, schist and granite. Nature itself inspired
you for artistic creations. The golden sunrises and the purple sunsets
in a nature with ravines and oleander, roads and pathways, herbs,
steep rocks , waters, sandy beaches, mountains and the caressing
of the northern wind, the light blue sky and the excessive sunlight
are magnificent. All these are elements that contribute to the molding
of a folklore artist and they influence him in the sculpturing on
the lifeless marble, rock or wood and on other instances with the
paintbrush on the canvas.
The Tinian house
is distinguished for its simplicity and its functionalism.
Usually it is comprised of a spacious room, which is used
as the welcoming area and from smaller rooms according to
the various needs of the owners. The kitchen with the fireplace
and the courtyard also comes to complement it.
The courtyard is always in the front of the house and it never
faces the north. Usually the floors communicate between them
with an internal staircase. The houses also have very beautiful
chimneys. The furnishing of the house is relatively simple
and is comprised with the absolutely necessary.
Concerning the churches
and the bell towers it is judged that the systematic research has
not yet been completed and is very hard to be achieved due to the
fact that is has a large volume in material and number, considering
that two dogmas exist on the island.
The dovecotes of Tinos are admirable. There are dovecotes in many
of the Cycladic islands but the most and the biggest are found on
Tinos. The Tinians maintained and still maintain the doves, mainly
for their tasty meat but also for their excrements, which make excellent
manure. They are built on the mountainsides and decorate the landscape
beautifully. They are rock built bulky constructions their lower
part is used as a storage room and the higher for the housing for
of the Dovecotes with great mastery create diamond shaped,
triangular or sun shaped facets.
The dovecotes comprise in their total architectural monuments
and folklore creations unique in the world. It is not know
how many dovecotes exist in Tinos exactly, but they are definitely
more than 600. They are mainly buildings from the 18th and
The Tinian marble carvers
created masterpieces with the local marble. Churches, cemeteries,
blazons, water fountains and other constructions that decorate the
area. It is referred that in 1845, the art of marble sculpturing
of the island was a significant industry and occupied more than
one thousand technicians. They used to form ships, fish, trees,
heads, doves and other forms on marble and decorated their environment
with aesthetic value.
The Tinian craftsmen did not only constrain themselves with the
working of marble but also that of wood, but unfortunately very
few of their work has been preserved. Famous woodcarvers such as
Chatzinikolaos Printzis, Ioannis Kollaros and Ioannis Platis created
works or art such as the baldachin of Anastaseos in Jerusalem and
The skilful villagers occupy themselves with the art of creating
locks and more specifically with wooden locks. They are constructed
in such a way that it is impossible to use a skeleton key.
Basketry is another field that the people of Tinos are involved
in. In the beginning of the 20th century many thousands of baskets
were made available in the market to be sold to Smyrna and the European
Basically during Easter every family makes
wonderful homemade sweets that are offered to friends together
with a liqueur or wonderful homemade raki or otherwise known
as tsipouro. The housewives make sweets with dough and walnuts
that have the shape of a fish and are named psarakia (means
small fishes in Greek). These are offered in weddings, baptisms
and also at the celebration of name days. Pasteli in diamond
shaped pieces is also offered dipped in pure honey.
Another very nice custom was the Vengeras (Evening parties),
during which friendly families used to gather together and
visitors were offered figs, must-jelly and raisins accompanied
The people of Tinos really
enjoy entertainment, singing and dancing. Young men and women dance
their local dances, ballo and sirto to the sounds of the local instruments
which are usually the violin and the accordeon. The violin player
here and there improvises lines that compliment the appearance and
grace of the dancers.
Another part of its civilization is the windmills. In the past more
than 80 windmills used to operate, that grinded grains even from
the surrounding islands. Some survive until today. The owners of
the windmills are believed to be excellent meteorologists, as they
accumulated great experience concerning the wind and the weather.
They played a major role during the 2nd World War offering flour
to the population. The windmills are proof of the relation of the
island with Aiolos , the god of the winds.