Tinos and the pigeons houses

“When the Venetians came to Tinos in 1207, they first brought pigeons to the island. Pigeons were initially housed in roughly made dovecots, until the familiar pigeon-houses, those masterpieces of architecture, where constructed by the popular self-taught masons of Tinos. Having plenty of readily available schist to use as raw material, they started to build and decorate the famous pigeon-houses. Pigeon-houses are scattered across the island; most of them are at Mesa Meri and Kato Meri, and less at the Exo Meri, built on hill slopes and close to gullies and cultivated fields, so that pigeons can find food and water. There are almost one thousands of them, equal in number to the old country churches. There are no identical two, because each time the owner and the mason wanted to surpass the others, giving a different volume and decoration to the structure. Certainly there are pigeon-houses on other Cycladic islands, but they have nothing common with those in Tinos.”