Architecture


Tinos, the island of art and beauty, harbors architectural and artistic treasures which make it an enormous museum of folk art.
Nature endowed it not only with an abundance of suitable materials, such as green and white marble, slate and granite, but also with a rare environment that unquestionably stimulates artistic feeling. Due to this geographical position, one can see the surrounding Cycladic islands and enjoy golden sunrises and purple sunsets. These artists have also been inspired by a wide variety of historical subjects that reflect the island’s Catholic and Orthodox past and present.


The Tinian House

The island house is one of the most characteristic creations of folk craft. It distinguished for its simplicity and functionality. It usually consist of a spacious room which is used as a reception space and two or three smaller room to the rear, or along the sides, used as bedrooms, depending on the owner’s needs, a kitchen with a fireplace, the katoi (ground floor) where all the agricultural production is centered and the courtyard. The courtyard is always on the house’s facade, which never faces north, and on the first floor. The facade of the courtyard has build ledges, usually dressed with marble slabs, as a double ledge (the one is lower) where one can sit and enjoy an enchanting view of the Aegean Sea. The first floor communicates with the ground floor and the street, normally via an external staircase dressed in marble or slate. The outside door, usually in the middle of the facade between the courtyard and the windows, is decorated with marble fanlights. The flat roof of the house is usually ornamented with a marvelous chimney with creates authentic pleasure with its simple lines. In many houses, the highest point of the chimney consists of an overturned, performed clay pot. Such an appropriate use of materials gives us a moving example of how the practical and aesthetic needs of people can be uniformly met. The house is furnished with what is necessary.
Externally, the house has very simple lines, the main decorative element being the semicircular arch, the “volto” which is usually midway between the first floor, as well as built recesses. The “volta” is also encountered along the lanes of the medieval villages, particularly in Agapi, Tarabados and Kardiani.



Churches and Bell -Towers


The systematic study of the churches and the bell-towers of Tinos has not yet been done is it an easy task, taking into account the number of churches and how widespread they are, With its 750 Orthodox and Catholic churches, Tinos constitutes a unique place in the world of ecclesiastical architecture where the sensibility of the Tinian folk soul reached its peak Using Eastern and Western techniques in an incomparable way, local materials and loving care, the Tinian folk craftsman build churches which are truly works of art. Further more, the bell-towers of Tinos seduce one both with their majesty and their simplicity. Some are exceptionally ornate and others exceptionally spare, whether of marble or not.


 


Windmills and Watermills


When during the Venetian occupation wheat was intensely cultivated on the island for the feeding of a population triple its present size, there were more than 80 windmills in operation, built of local stone which also ground the wheat of the surrounding islands, doing back to pre-Christian times. Quite a few of them were still in operation as recently as 20 years ago.
Today the last remaining owners of the windmills are thought to be the best amateur meteorologists as they have amassed centuries of local weather forecasting experience.
During the Second World War the island millers, as the risk of their lives, offered an important service to the population that was suffering from hunger, by secretly making flour at night to fulfill the needs of the habitants.
The mills, of which there are only a few left today, are also examples of the skill of the folk craftsman. Remnants of the bygone era, the presence of the windmills justifies the relationship of the island to Aeolus, while the watermills are connected to the old name of “Ydrousa”, revealing the abundance of water and springs.



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