Sites & Villages
Ancient Cemetery – Parikia
Located in Parikia, as coming out of the port and to the left on the way to Livadia area. It’s said to be one of the most significant cemeteries in Greece, was discovered during excavations in 1983 and dates from the end of the 8th century B.C. until the 3rd century A.D.
Researchers suppose that it was the end of an ancient town that collapsed into the sea, because they have discovered in the sea a lot of objects, like capitals or other parts of columns. The cemetery has different kinds of graves and from different eras, the most important finding being the common grave, called “polyandrous” from the end of the 8th century B.C., unique for the Aegean region. In front is a huge tombstone.
Ancient Pottery Workshop – Parikia
Extensive establishment of a pottery workshop, dated to the 3rd century B.C. It has two cisterns, auxiliary rooms, two spacious kilns (diameter 2m.) and four smaller ones. According to researchers in the construction of it, archaic pithoi with impressed decoration were used. A Geometric grave and a wall of a large archaic building were uncovered in the deeper strata. The excavation started in 1986 in private land and was extended in the area of the street in 1990. The monument is now preserved in the basement of the modern building.
One important historical sight in Parikia is the Venetian Castle built in the 13rd century. It was built away from the first medieval settlement with marble taken from the ruins of the temple of Dimitra (where Aghios Constantine is located on the top of a hill on the seafront of Parikia) and other ancient temples. The part that remains today is only a very small part of the original castle. According to researchers the 4-6 m. high walls that we see today are from the eastern and southern parts, while the western side of the wall slid into the sea. Locating the castle inside the town of Parikia is quite difficult for the reason that after the collapse of the walls the people used the ruins to build their own houses, so houses and castle are in a way united. The only clear part of the Venetian castle is the square tower on the eastern side.
Sanctuary Of Asklipios – Parikia
Two sanctuaries were found in the south of Parikia (near Agia Anna). The one was the sanctuary of Asklipios, the ancient Greek God of medicine and the second one is the remains of the temple of Pythios Apollo (which unfortunately very little remains, the rest of the temple was probably destroyed in 202 BC.) From the temple of Asklipios, only the columns remain. It was built in the 4th century B.C. close to a spring, as water was necessary for the God’s ceremonies.
Sanctuary of Delion
In the outskirts of Parikia, upon a hill (towards Krios area), is the Delion Sanctuary. The temple was the place of worship of the god Apollo of Delios. The original structure was built in the 9th – 8th century BC. Later on, in the 5th century BC, a new temple dedicated to Artemis was also built close to the original structure.
Ruins of The Three Churches
At the outskirts of Parikia, on the road towards Naousa, are the Three Churches (Tries Ekklisies). It is a complex of Post-Byzantine churches, built in the 17th century, with marbles from ancient temples. The three churches were built on top of a Paleo-Christian Basilica that dated back to the 6th century.
Marathi – Ancient Quarries
Heading east and on the way to Lefkes, we find the region of Marathi, a picturesque village, connected to the ancient marble quarries of Paros. Even today the visitor can see remains of the ancient quarries.
Two openings at the foot of the small cliff that used to be the entrances to the quarry invite you inside. From this point started the passages to the underground galleries where the whitest and clearest Parian marble, known as Lichnites, was quarried. Its clarity is 3,5cm, when for example the one from Penteli in Athens is only 1,5cm. Parian marble is completely pure with no other minerals. The name lichnitis comes from the lamps (lichni) which the workers used in the galleries while working. During the Roman era about 150.000 slaves used to work in the quarries.
On the marble at the entrance of the first opening we can see representations of Gods and Nymphs and the sign “ADAMAS ODRYSI NYMPHAIS”. This gallery is known as “the cave of the Nymphs”. A second entrance to the same gallery is known as “the entrance of the French” because the French-Belgian crew that had been quarrying marble for Napoleon’s grave entered from that side. There is also a second gallery that even today has not changed and remains in the condition that the workers left it.
Koukounaries –Ancient ruins
Southwest of Naousa is the area of Koukounaries, where recent excavations discovered a Mycenaean palace from the 13th century B.C. This palace was probably ruined around the 10th or 9th century B.C. and over it was built a new settlement that developed at the same time with the Castle of Parikia. The sculpture of Athena, also found there is estimated to be from the same period. The findings in Koukounaries are the most important of the early history of the Cyclades and in the years to come they will be exhibited in the archaeological museum of Parikia. The area is easily accessible up to the main road, but after that hiking is required, so the visitor must be very well prepared with water, hat and comfortable shoes for walking.
The Venetian Castle – Naousa
The Venetian Castle can be found at the northern edge of the picturesque port of Naousa. It was built in the 15th century by the Venetian Dynasty Sommaripa. Today, it is half-sunken beneath the surface of the sea. The port of Naousa was once a safe haven for the pirates that pillaged the island.
Drios village has been well known and active since ancient times. At the left end of the coast the visitor notices some long shaped stones inside the sea, used as dockyards for boat restoration and/or protection from storms. In the time of the Turkish domination the boat of Kapudan Pasa docked there when visiting to collect taxes from the Parian people.
Paros in general is a very interesting area for archaeologists because of its wealth of history below ground. Excavations over the years have brought and still do bring to light amazing finds from small objects of pottery to ancient temples, fortress or houses.
WONDERS OF NATURE
From the small port of Naousa leave wooden boats that bring people to the beach of Kolymbithres. Access to this beach is easy by car but also on foot for those who love walking. Kolymbithres is a wonderful sandy beach with shallow blue waters and a unique gift of nature, its rocks. They are grey, smooth rocks in artistic forms and alien shapes, formed over the years by the seawater. These rocks create small bays of unique beauty and a sense of mystery that charm the hundreds of summer visitors. West of the bay we find the monastery, an area of continuous bays separated by rocks.
In the bay of Naousa we see a small island called Aghia Kali, with a small church on top, the church of the Ascension, where the Russians had their base in 1770.
Kalogeras beach is known for the natural argil that the mountains produce and people like to use as a beauty mask while swimming. Argil mud bath is a really experience!
Before we reach the monastery on the top of the mountain, on our right side we see the butterfly valley, one of the best known sights of Paros. The valley is an area full of tall trees and a variety of bushes and flowers, because of the natural underground water. Huge plane trees, laurels, wild olive trees, locust and plenty of fruit trees are only some of the flora growing in this small valley and all covered by ivy. This natural wild garden is the home of a specific type of butterfly with black or dark brown and yellow striped wings that underneath are completely red.
During the day they stay still on the trunks of the trees and after sunset they move to the leaves, but sometimes they decide to fly, giving the visitor a unique performance. For their protection it’s not allowed to scare them by causing loud noises or moving the trees.
Afouklaki Valley – Marpissa
It’s a small valley with rich flora and running water, an excellent choice for a natural walk.
MONASTERIES & CHURCHES
Panagia the Ekatontapiliani or Katopoliani.
The cathedral of Parikia. The name Katopoliani derives from the expression “kata tin poli” which means toward the town. The name Ekatontapiliani comes from the fact that the church has 99 counted entrances (doors & windows) and according to tradition when the 10oth is discovered either Judgment Day will come or the Greeks will take back Constantinople.
This church is considered of great significance and is one of the oldest monuments of Christianity in Greece. According to tradition the story of the church starts during the time of Constantine the Great (280-337 A.D). When Christianity was fighting the ancient Greek spirit, the mother of Constantine began her trip to the Holy Land in order to find the Holy Cross. On the way she met strong winds and she was forced to stop in Paros. She found a small church dedicated to the Assumption, where she prayed and vowed that if she found the Holy Cross and returned to her son safely, she would build a magnificent church in that spot. Finally the temple was built by her son, Saint Constantine, because she died before she had chance to fulfill her promise.
First of all there was the small church of the Virgin Mary, where today the Saint Nicolas church is in the northern part of the sanctum. There must have followed the construction of the main temple of the Panagia, including the Baptistery, which was the way churches were made at that time. These three churches had wooden roves and probably destroyed by fire.
Between 527 and 565, Justinian decided to renovate part of the churches and transformed them into dome shaped basilicas. The dome of the bigger church has an elliptical instead of a perfect hemispherical shape, because the four columns that supported it didn’t make a perfect square. At the entrance the visitor can see the name of Justinian carved on a marble stone.
Plenty of stories are known about incidents that happened during the constructions of the church. One story is written in blood. According to tradition, Ignatius, was responsible for reconstructing the dome of the church during the time of Justinian. He was student of Anthemios, the head artisan of Aghia Sophia in Constantinople. As soon as Ignatius finished his project he called his teacher to see his masterpiece. When Anthemios saw the magnificent temple he got jealous and asked his student to go to the top of the entrance area to show him a mistake that he had made. The moment his student leaned over to see what the problem was, his teacher pushed him over the edge. Struggling to catch hold of something to save himself, the student grabbed his teacher’s hand and dragged him down with him. They were both killed.
During the domination of the Franks and the Turks, the church suffered a lot of damage and plunder, but the greatest damage was caused by a big earthquake in 1773. Restoration and maintenance were under taken by Anastasios Orlando and the church regained its Byzantine magnificence that had been spoiled by slapdash work carried out to prevent the temple falling down. Today the church has the form of a cross-shaped basilica dome. The entrance is from the narthex with one big central door and two smaller ones on each side. Inside almost all the sculptured decoration is preserved as it was in the ancient temple. In good condition are also the colored porous stones decorating the dome.
Inside the temple and on its sides are seven rows of marble seats with the Episcopal throne positioned on a higher level than the seats. In the southern part of the main hall is the baptistery built in the 4th century with a cross-shaped marble font. There we can just about see the most ancient fresco of Paros, most probably showing Aghios Georgios (Saint George) and done between the 11th and 12th century. The visitor can imagine the believer entering from the western side of the font and exiting baptized from the eastern side. The priest performing the service stands on a base in the middle, where today we see a small column that was put there some years after.
Inside the main temple is the chapel of Aghoi Anargyri, north of the Sanctum is the chapel of Saint Philip and nearby, the chapel of the Holy Spirit.
In the northern wall of the church are a small chapel and the grave of Aghia Theoktisti, a woman who was a nun in Ekatontapiliani for 35 years and today is the patron saint of Parikia.
When entering the courtyard of the church complex and to the right we can find a small Byzantine Museum with a rich collection of Byzantine relics. Outside in the garden we can see a lot of sculptures, architectural remains and inscribed stones from ancient times left in the position that they were found.
Panagia Septemvriani – Parikia
One of the oldest churches in Parikia, in which one can see a unique bust of the Virgin Mary, dating from 1592.
Monastery of Aghios Minas – Marathi
In the area of the quarries there are the church of Aghia Paraskevi (Saint Friday) and the monastery of Aghios Minas (Monastery of the Aghio Mina, Victor & Vincentia) dating from the 17th century.
It is a small, but remarkable monastery with uncommon icons and temple and beautiful architecture, especially inside. The main part was constructed in 1617 and the cells a little later. Over the main entrance is the “scalding spot” (zematistra), from where the defenders of the monastery threw boiling oil onto the enemies who tried to invade it.
In the same area of Marathi is situated one of the oldest Byzantine small church (with troulo) of Agios Yiannis Theologos that is dated since 11th century. One of the four byzantine churches saved on the island.
Aghia Pakou Church
Leaving Marathi we reach the limits of Kostos and the junction of Aghia Pakou. At this junction, above the road, in an outstanding position in the North is the small church of Aghia Pakou (Aghia Ipakoi= Ipapanti of God) which used to be dependent on the monastery of Hozoviotissas in Amorgos and was renovated in 1609.
Anastasi Church – Kostos
The church of Anastasi is situated inside Kostos Village, one very picturesque little church and the oldest of the area that was recently renovated. In the central square of the village we find two beautiful churches, one to Aghios Panteleimon and one to Aghia Marina and inside the small streets there are few more, with more important the church of Metamorphoses of Sotira. A newly build church is found at the entrance of the village dedicated to Agio Athanasio ton Pario.
Aghia Triada (Holy Trinity) Lefkes.
It was constructed in 1830 over three old churches, Analipseos (Assumption), Aghias Annas (Saint Anne) and Aghios Georgios (Saint George) using Parian marble for the bell towers, the main temple, the pulpit, and the bishop’s throne. Inside we find icons created by local artists and others from post Byzantine times that belonged to the previous smaller churches.
In the village of Lefkes, we also find the church of Aghia Varvara (Saint Barbara) built on the ruins of the medieval church of Assumption, the church of Aghias Theodosias with icons and representations from 17th century, the church of Aghios Demetrios, Aghias Ekaterinis (Saint Catherine), Aghiou Ermolaou, of Aghias Paraskevis in the upper part of the village and considered to be the first church of the very first settlement around the 15th century. In the surrounding area are the monasteries of Aghia Kyriaki (Saint Sunday), Aghio Ioanni the Kaparou, Aghio Ioanni the Theologo and the monastery of Aghiou Georgiou in Langada.
Monastery of Agios Antonios
East of Marpissa is the hill of Kefalos, as it was called in the medieval era, or the hill of Aghios Antonios as it’s called today, named after the 16th century monastery on the top. According to mythology Kefalos was the son of Hermes and Ersis. Ios, (dawn in Greek) fell in love with Kefalos –among others- and had a son, Faethonta. The unique view from Kefalos at dawn verifies the myth.
On the top of the hill was built the Venetian castle of Nicolas A’ Somaripa, who dominated the island until 1537 when Chairentin Barbarosa occupied Paros. It was the last stronghold of the Venetians and tradition has it that the battle was so fierce that the rue of blood from the soldiers reached the sea in Kalogeras. Today some ruins of the castle exist, some of them belonging to churches one of which is the church of Evangelismou Theotokou of the 15th century.
The monastery of Aghios Antonios, well preserved, attracts visitors despite the fact that to reach it there is only an uphill path where no car can go. Inside, the monastery has a wonderful temple, a marble pulpit supported by an upside down column of Ionian style and splendid frescos, like the one representing Judgment Day. Of course people forget all about climbing up the hill the moment they see the magnificent view.
Monastery of Agios Georgios –Lagada
West of the village of Marpissa, high on the mountain is the monastery of Aghios Georgios Langada from the 16th century. The monastery was recently renovated and it’s worth visiting for its architecture and history and of course for the wonderful view.
Monastery Of Christou sto Dasos (Agios Arsenios)
Passing the road to Aghia Irene beach, we turn towards the inner part of the island and we reach the area of the butterfly valley. Above it, at the top of the mountain is the monastery of Christou sto Dasos or the monastery Metamorphoses of Christ exclusively for nuns, together with the church of Aghios Arsenis the patron saint of the island. The church was built over the grave of Aghios Arsenios to whose name the temple was dedicated. The monastery celebrates 3 times per year. The first on the 31st of January for the death of Aghios Arsenios, the second on the 6th of August for the Metamorphoses of Christ and the third on the 18th of August on the memorial day of the removal of the relics of Aghios Arsenios. Everybody can visit the monastery, but in the corridors and the nuns’ cells, only women can enter.
Monastery of Loggovardas
From Parikia and on our way to Naousa we see the monastery of Loggovardas. It’s a men’s monastery dedicated to Zhoodocho Pigi (giving life source) that was built in 1638 by the Naousian Christophoro Paleologo. Its architecture reminds one of a fortress. In its library a lot of religious scripts and coded manuscripts were found from the 14th century. It has valuable frescos and icons dating back to the 18th century. The monastery was renovated many times after 1675. It comes under the laws of Mount Athos, which means that women are not allowed to enter it. Nevertheless it is a very interesting place to visit.
Monastery of Agios Andreas.
One of the monasteries you can visit, few kilometers outside Naousa, is that of Aghios Andreas in Protoria (12th – 13th century), which was recently renovated. It’s a private monastery.
Pera Panagia Church – Marmara Village
One of the most beautiful churches in Paros.
Agios Georgios Thalassitis – Piso Livadi
The Chapel of Agios Georgios Thalassitits was built in the 13th century AD. Several lovely hagiographies can still been seen here. Used to say that pirates used to store their treasures in the church, in an underground vault. This chapel is the oldest chapel on the island of Paros. Inside Piso Livadi is also found the small church of Agios Nicolas – Analipsi.
Monastery of Thapsana (women visitors only)
Monastery of Agioi Theodoroi – next to Ageria.
Monastery of Agioi Anargiroi – Parikia
Archaeological Museum – Parikia
The Archeological Museum, is situated just behind the Ekatontapiliani Church. Some of the most well known and interesting findings exhibited in the museum are marble sculptures of men (kouri) and women (kores), the bottom part of the Goddess Athena’s body and the statue of Aphrodite of Delion. In two marble pieces the poet Archilochos is carved in relief, one showing him lying in bed dead holding his weapons and his lyre. Another masterpiece dated around 370 B.C. is the statue of Niki (Victory) who seems to be floating on air trying to touch earth. The statue of Gorgous (in ancient Greek quick) is also a magnificent statue which shows so vividly the struggle of this mythical monster to touch the earth in the face of a strong wind which folds back its wings. In the courtyard of the museum are also a marble sarcophagus from the 5th century and part of a mosaic floor showing the labors of Hercules.
Byzantine Museum of Ekatontopyliani – Parikia
The Byzantine museum is housed in the ground floor cells of the southern wing of the Church Of Panagia Ekatontapyliani. The collection of the museum, which includes ecclesiastical relics that existed for centuries in the Ekatontapyliani but also in other churches on the island of Paros, was concentrated in the late of the 20th century A.D. In the Byzantine Museum, you will see posts of Byzantine icons (mainly works of the Cretan school), ecclesiastical wooden sculptures (such as the wooden epitaph of the church, 17th century A.D.), canonicals, as well as silver works.
Folklore Museum – Naousa
The Folklore Museum is located in the central square of Naousa and houses the personal collection of Othon Kaparis, a wealthy doctor from Paros who managed to concentrate whatever he thought important for the history and culture of this place with the purpose to establish this museum. In the museum you will see objects from the agricultural and nautical life of the island, findings from the Mycenaean Acropolis in Koukounaries, ancient coins, maps, books, parchments and a photographic archive that shows to younger people how Naousa used to be in 1950.
Ecclesiastical School – Naoussa
Here you will find a collection of post-Byzantine art works that is constituted by icons, crosses, wooden domes, copper engraving, ecclesiastical brassware as well as part of a hagiography of great historical importance from a Byzantine church near to Naousa, in the united cells of the old monastery of Aghios Athanassios in the entrance of Naousa. The works of the collection are exhibited in the Ecclesiastical school since 1997.
The Byzantine museum- Naoussa
This museum is located at the large church of Aghios Nikolaos in Naousa and displays Byzantine and post-Byzantine art such as Byzantine icons, vessels and engravings but also some Roman and Frankish sculptures.
Perantinos museum – Marpissa
The sculpture museum on Paros is located in the small village of Marpissa and is dedicated to the local artist, Nikos Perantinos. He was the son of Leonardos Perandinos and he was born in Athens in the year 1910. In 1928 he studied at the National Academy of Arts, in the sculpture studio of Thomas Thomopoulos. He graduated with a degree in sculpture and a golden award. He then continued his studies in scholarship in Paris. In 1941 he got appointed as a permanent sculptor for the Archeological museum, where he fulfilled important work in restoring ancient sculptures. His work is outstanding. He is the teacher of simplicity and classical form and he got plenty of awards. Finally the Athens academy, on the 23rd of March 1991 bested him with the ” Aristio” of Arts in the sculpture sector. After his death (20th July 1991) the museum ” Nikolaos Perandinos” in Marpissa village was founded. The museum has 192 sculptures, metals and signs.