and ancient periods
evidence that the region had been inhabited in the prehistoric period
(walls, dwellings, cemetaries). It was contenually inhabited but probably
with interruptions. From the ancient times there are traces of sanctuaries
and temples (Demeter, Persephone). After the establishment of the ancient
city (to the north of the present one). The region was abandoned.
period of pirate attacks, the inhabitants returned again to the interior
of the island with Exombourgo their capital. During this period, the
first fortification was built and called “St. Helen`s Castle” named
after the tiny chapel at the summit. Actually the island, as well as
all of the Cyclades were under constant threat of attack.
4th crusade (1204)the brothers Jeremie and Andre Ghisi arrived
in Tinos in 1207. The Ghisi dynasthy governed the island for 183 years
(1207 – 1390). The “Castle of Tinos” as is inferred to, in documents
of the times, served to protect first of all the Ghisi family and also
the inhabitants against the attacks of the pirates and the Turks. The
island also served as a base to launch attacks on the other islands
occupied by the Franks. In 1390 the last Ghisi died (Bartholomew III)
without heirs.A 40 year intermediary period followed. After 1430 a Venetian
military officer with the title “Rector of Tinos and mykonos” governed
the island. In 1537 the island was occupied by Barbarossa for several months in
the name of the Sultan. In 1715 the Turks invaded the island and in
three days the castle was completely destroyed.
description of the castle
1480 – 1490 the high towers were taken down and rebuilt according to
the specifications of the times. After Barbarossa, Venice started to
re-fortify with the architect a certain Maregiti who died in 1561. The
ramperts had a length of approx. 600 metres. Towers were erected facing
all directions. After this last reconstruction, there were 677 houses
– (204 for its “citizens” and the remaining for the villagers), 5 curches
storage areas, water reservoirs. The population is estimated to have
numbered between 1000 and 2000 persons.
the inhabibants of Tinos succsessfully repulsed
their invaders many times. But by 1715 Venice had already begun its
decline. In the east especially it had lost most of its holdings. Tinos
was left alone to defend itself against a much stronger enemy in June
of 1715, and managed to hold on, but for reasons not exactly known,
the Rector and military commander made a pact with the Turks and handed
over the castle. Within 3 days the Turks exploded the fortifications
demolished everything. After 508 years of domination, the Venetian
presence ended less than horably.
And the present
It seems that the rock which we today call
“Exombourgo” continues to touch the hearts of the inhabitants as it
did back then. After the destruction by the invading Turks the inhabitants
settled “Exombourgo” (outside the castle) and continued to prosper as
testified by the ancient ruins of the catholic cathedral (on the right,
descending) and the church of the Sacred Heart. Later and gradually
the population dispersed to various settlements creating large villages.
The civil authorities moved to “Hora” (the city) and the catholic bishop
transfered to Xinara. Despite the madness of the Ottoman Turks who literally
flattened the fortress, and the indifference of the Greek State which
does not take measures to preserve these monuments and ruins, the visitor
today can still admire the vestige of a glorious history.