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Island of Tinos
Over 50 villages and hamlets enliven the wild slopes of the Tinian mountains. In these highland settlements the traditional architecture is quite well preserved. The small courtyards of the houses are filled with flowers, cobbled streets still pass beneath whitewashed balconies, little chapels stand beside Venetian belltowers and everywhere there are marble reliefs and ornaments. Pyrgos (or Panormos), the most famous of the villages of Tinos, retains its traditional character unscathed and belongs to the association of traditional settlements "Communities of the Greeks". At Tarabado there are the most beautiful dovecotes on Tinos; Volaxc standsin a weird landscape of rounded rocks; Triantaros, Falatados, Skalados, Kampos, Ktikados, Agapi, Isternia, Pyrgos and remote, forgotten Marla, all merit a visit.


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  Since the time of Venetian rule the craft of marble-carving flourished on Tinos. Over the years Tinian masons and stone cutters developed into notable folk artists who fashioned from the well-known Tinian marble all manner of reliefs, fountains, fanlights, sculpted lintels, coats of arms and ecclesiastical carvings. Centres of marble-carving on the island are the villages of Pyrgos and Isternia, where there are many workshops opering today, producing masterpieces in marble.
Virtually all visitors in Tinos come here to venerate the icon of the Virgin Megalochari, which is kept in the magnificent church dedicated to the Annunciation to the Virgin, near the island's harbour. The icon was found buried on this spot, on 31 January 1823, after it had been revealed in a dream to the nun Pelagia who was living in the Kechrovouni Convent. Th eVirgin of Tinos is the most popular and miraculous icon of the Greek Orthodox faithand ots splendid feast days, on 25 March and primarily on 15 August, are linked with important events in Modern Greek history. Yhe most memorable are the War of the Independence in 1821 and the Greek-Italian hostilities in 1940, one of the basic pretexts for which was the torpedoing of the cruiser Elli in Tinos harbour, by an Italian submarine on 15 August 1940.
The terrain of Tinos is steep and there are few extensive sandy beaches. The best are those at Aghios Fokas, Kionia, Aghios Giannis-Porto and Kolimbithres. However, the jewels of the island's beaches are hidden in the countless coves of its indented coasts. Some accessible along dirt tracks, while many can only be reached by boat. These include the superb beaches at Aspros Gialos, Apigania, Panousa, Ballos, Pachia Ammos, Lychnaftia, Livada, Aghiathalassa at Panormos and the tiny secluded beaches at Aghii Theodori, by the strait between Tinos and Andros.
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Map of Cyclades Islands
Map of Tinos
  The most characteristic picture of the Tinian landscape is of the traditional snow-white dovecotes which are scattered all over, amidst the vineyards and the figtrees. The first dovecotes were erected on Tinos during the period of Venetian rule. They proliferated later, since doves or pigeons in oil and vinegar were an expensive delicacy in the markets of Constantinople. The Tinian dovecotes are built of stone - schist and limestone - and their intricate designs bear witness to the inventive imagination of the Tinian masons, since no two of the 1000 or so dovecotes on the island are alike: each is unique.  
  Stock-raising is highly developed on Tinos and the island has a fine culinary tradition in meat and dairy products. The visitor should sample the local myzithra (mild white cheese) and kopanisti (tangy soft cheese), the spicy Tinian sausage and the tasty louza (smoked ham sliced wafer thin), while in the tavernas of villages off the beaten track, he/she should ask for local omelettes, marathotiganita (vegetable fritter with dill) and the delicious local sirloin steaks.
Tinos is not only known as the island of the Virgin, but also as the island of the artists. And rightly so, since some of the most important artists in Modern Greece were born here. Indeed many of them helped form the aesthetics of the newly-founded Greek state in the 19th century. The two pre-eminent painters Nikephoros Lytras and Nikolaos Gyzis hailed from Tinos, while the island's tradition in marble-carving was worthily represented by the famous Tinian sculptors D. Philippotis, G. Voulgaris, L. Sochos and, above all, by the so-called "Pheidias" of Modern Greece, the very talented Yannoulis Chalepas.
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