Tinos is one of those sleeper hit islands. It’s known widely for its sacred Greek Orthodox pilgrimage site: the Church of Panagia Evangelistria, in the port and main town, Hora. But as soon as you leave the throngs in town, Tinos is a wonderland of natural beauty, dotted with more than 40 marble-ornamented villages found in hidden bays, on terraced hillsides and atop misty mountains. Also scattered across the brindled countryside are countless ornate dovecotes, a legacy of the Venetians. There’s a strong artistic tradition on Tinos, especially for marble sculpting, as in the sculptors’ village of Pyrgos in the north, near the marble quarries. The food, made from local produce (cheeses, sausage, tomatoes and wild artichokes), is some of the best you’ll find in Greece. Tinos’ religious focus is this neoclassical church and its icon of the Virgin Mary. The hallowed icon was found in 1822 on land where the church now stands, after a nun in Tinos, now St Pelagia, was visited by visions from the Virgin instructing her where to find it. From the start, the icon was said to have healing powers, thus encouraging mass pilgrimage. Our Lady of Tinos became the patron saint of the Greek nation. As you enter the church, the icon is on the left of the aisle, and is totally draped in jewels. Hundreds of silver lamps hang from the ceiling, each dangling a votive offering: a ship, a cradle, a heart, a pair of lungs, a chainsaw. The church, built of marble from the island’s Panormos quarries, lies within a pleasant courtyard flanked by cool arcades. The complex has sweeping views all around and museums (with variable hours) that house collections of religious artefacts, icons and secular art. Respectful attire must be worn.
MAR 03, 1999
Mazalien the Philosopher and sky watcher is born about 50 years ago and is very much a travel buff. The most beautiful in the world is, of course, the world itself. So lets explore the world drifting from one world of dreams into another.....