Tinos is the third largest island of the Cyclades (194.26 sq. km). It is a province of the Prefecture of the Cyclades and its capital is Tinos or Chora. The island comprises two Municipalities (Tinos and Exombourgo) and one Community (Panormos).
In antiquity the island was called "Ofioussa" and "Idroussa” which mean abundance in snakes and water correspondingly. The word “Tinos” is of Phoenician origin.
The island flourished during the middle Cycladic period, according to the findings of archaeological excavations.
There is a written reference about Tinos by a historian during the Persian Wars. Tinos was conquered by the Persians in 480 BC. However, during the battle of Salamis the admiral Panaitios, who was from Tinos, defected and informed the Greek people about the intentions of the Persians. As a result, the name of Tinos was written, along with the names of other Greek cities, on the Tripod the Greeks dedicated to Delphi after their victory over the Persians. The history of Tinos continues; after the Persian Wars, Tinos became a member of the 1st and 2nd Athenian League.
Then the island declined and successively passed to the domination of the Macedonians and after of the Romans. Tinos economy flourished during the first Byzantine years. The island many times faced depredatory attacks by the Saracens. In 1207 AD the island passed to the Venetian domination, which lasted for more than 500 years. During that period, the capital of the island was in the castle of Santa Elena, on mount Exombourgo, almost in the centre of the island and far from the beaches so as the enemies could not approach it. In 1715 AD Tinos fell to the domination of Turks. The island was governed by local notables with a Turkish “Cadi” and an “Aga”. After the beginning of the Greek Revolution, the island played a leading role and it was one of the first islands to be liberated. In modern history, the island was connected with the finding of the icon of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary and thus it constitutes a pilgrimage site.
In the recent years, Tinos is going through a period of tourist development. The exceptional Cycladic landscape, the particular architecture and the numerous traditional settlements of the island have greatly contributed to that. Marble art has also a long-lasting tradition on the island, samples of which one can admire everywhere. The dovecotes that are scattered all around the island and the hundreds of chapels are famous and much photographed.