Many characteristics have been attributed since old times to the beautiful island of Paros, with its long history, splendid nature and its rich tradition. However what characterizes it the mostr is the sense that Paros remains always fresh and modern. Paros is an island, where as time goes by, its shine does not dazzle, but is renewed. A known and acknowledged tourist destination, Paros has always something new to propose to its visitors. Those who have visited it already, it is certain that on the next time they will find something that they had not discovered in this rich of images, culture and activities island.
Paros, with an extent of 186 sq. kilometres, is one of the largest and most fertile islands of the Cyclades, with valleys, plains and cultivable extents. Known for its splendid golden coasts, the blue waters and its night life, assembles each year thousands visitors. Except these, Paros has still much to offer: its natural wealth, its fascinating cultural heritage, its unique customs, its authentic traditional flavours, and with an exceptional tourist organisation, there is a strong reasoning for visitors to come and return back again, charmed from its beauties.
The boat sails into the harbour and capital of the island, Paroikia, a region with religious, archaeological and cultural monuments of exceptional interest. The traditional part of the city, behind the harbour includes splendid neoclassical mansions, traditional galleries, old springs, and whitewashed island houses.
In the northern coasts of the island we find beautiful Naoussa, with an intense traditional colour and a big tourist movement. A morning walk in the streets of the settlement will remain unforgettable. On the other side of the gulf, you will find the impressive Kolympithres (enormous rocks formed by the erosion of nature have taken strange forms) and the islet of Analipsi.
Paros is a real paradise for hikers, having many paths, so much in coastal locations as in the green slopes. A visit in its hinterland passes essentially from Marathi, with the ancient quarries of marble “lychnitis”, the famous Parian marble from which art works as the Venus of Milos, the Hermes of Praxitelis and the Pediments of the Parthenon are made of.
From Agia Pakou, we reach the traditional settlement of Kostos, with its beautiful churches, whitewashed cobbled streets and a square with a plane tree, which offers shade to whoever chooses to drink their coffee there.
Passing through the 3000 year old Olive groves in the place Apati, we reach Lefkes, the most beautiful mountainous settlement of the island, with beautiful buildings the church of Agia Triada and a traditional café that immediately attracts attention. Marpissa on the south-western part of the island is one still beautiful settlement, with medieval monuments and appreciable churches.
Appreciable settlements of the period of Copper have been located in various points of Paros. The gulf of Naoussa presented an important growth of settlements. The island was known in antiquity with many names (Minois, Minoa, Yrii, and Kavarnis etc.) and was connected with the mythological persons – Minos, Hercules, Radamanthys, and Alkaios- etc. Dionysos, Dimitra, Dioskouroi and Venus were worshipped on the island, while there were temples dedicated to Apollo, Artemis, Zeus, Athina and Eileithya. The period of Minoan sovereignty in the Aegean, it was inhabited by Cretans. However the Arcadians are also reported as its residents, mainly up to later Mycenaean years. Later the Iones settled on the island.
A period of great commercial and economic development for Paros was the period after the 8th Century B.C. The island developed commercial contacts with the Middle Eastern coasts and founded the colony of Thassos (7th Century B.C.) which gave it the possibility of exploiting the layers of gold of the Thracian coasts. A big part of the growth of Paros we owe of course to the layers of marble found here. Famous workshops were created on the island, where an artistic development (6th Century) and cultural growth prevailed. Artists like Agorakritos (5th Century) and Skopas (4th Century) in sculpture and Nikanoras and Arkesilaos in painting, acquired Pan-Hellenic fame. Poetry with the lyric poet Archilochos, blossomed on the7th Century B.C. Blossoming also came in philosophy and mathematics (with more important representative Thymaridas). Interest existed also for the cultural history of the island, as it results from Parian Chronicle. The great growth of the island is also proved by the fact that from 600 B.C. it circulated its own currency.
In the important historical facts of the years that followed is included the failed effort of Miltiadis to occupy the island immediately after the conflict with their Persians in the battle of Marathon and its integration in the A΄ Athenian Alliance, from which it tried also to abstain, without a result. Than followed the integration in the B΄ Athenian Alliance, the subjugation to the Macedonians and later to the Ptolemy, Mithridatis and the Romans, therefore also the growth of the island was ceased. It was used as a place of exile, while in the Byzantine years it fell into obscurity.
From the 4th century A.D. the ecclesiastical life blossoms on Paros, as it results from the residues of Christian basilicas. Then the first church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani was built, that was extended and later reformed by the emperor Justinian.
From the 6th Century came a new period of growth that is owed to the organisation of Byzantine fleet and in the commercial activity between the East and the West.
From the 10th Century, Paros belongs in “the Subject of the Aegean” and it was raided a lot by pirates, who caused extensive destructions.
In 1204 with the fall of Constantinople to the Crusaders, it was included in the Duchy of the Aegean, that Markos Sanoudos founded and devolved to various Venetian families that contributed in a new cultural blossoming, especially in the means of the 15th Century that was combined with the commercial and economic development, supported in the excavation and sale of marble. At that time castles and towers (Castle of Paroikia, Kefalos and Naoussa) relic of which are saved up to today were built on the island.
In the all duration of the Venetian occupation, the island knew repeated pirate raids and the destruction of olive trees from the Venetians led the island to decline.
In 1566 it was granted, along with other islands of the Cyclades in the tradesman Nazis in the sovereignty of who it remained until 1579, when the residents with the residents of the islands Milos, Naxos, Santorini and Syros asked from the Sultan their integration in a preferential arrangement. Thus the life in the island was organised with new institutions, which contributed in its growth, which at a part is owed into that many of the dignitaries of the fleet (dragomanoi) came from the island and mainly from the Mavrogeni family. The hostile raids, by which Paros was often tried, were not absent. The island took part in the “Orlofika”. The safe bay of Naoussa was used as a base of operations by the Russian fleet in order to prevail in the Aegean. Traces of installations are maintained until today.
Paros took active part in the Greek Revolution. One of the heroes of the Revolution, Manto Mavrogenous, came from Paros, the family of which was a beneficiary of the island with donations for work beneficial to the public (f.x. springs, which are saved up to today in the central street of Paroikia etc.). From Paros came also the great teacher Athanassios Parios. Refugees from Psara and Chios found shelter in the island. Refugees from Smyrni settled here after the Asia Minor Destruction. The island was particularly tried in the period of the German occupation. A movement of resistance against the conquerors developed here.
After the end of the 2nd World War, Paros met a period of intense realignments. The resources of the island had been limited and only shipping and fishery remained active sectors. This time was marked big a migratory current initially to Piraeus and later abroad and mainly to America.
After 1960, a new period of growth began for Paros, which is owed mainly in the rise of tourism.
More analytically the beaches of Paros are:
Agkairia: Aliki, Piso or Palia Aliki, Agios Nikolaos, Makria Myti, Faraggas, Platia Ammos, Kladia, Pigadaki, Trypiti.
Archilochos: Molos, Tsoukalia, Kalogeras.
Marpissa: Piso Livadi, Logaras (blue flag), Pounta (blue flag), Mesada, Tserdakia or Nea Hrisi Akti (blue flag), Hrisi Akti the longest beach of Paros (blue flag), Dryos, Pyrgaki, Lolantonis, Glyfa.
Naoussa: Damouli, Ampelas, Santa Maria, Filizi, Laggeri, Xifaras, island of Oikonomou, Katholiko, Limnes, Agioi Anargyroi, Mikro and Megalo Piperi, Agios Dimitrios, Kolympithres (blue flag), Monastiri.
Paroikia: Livadia, beaches from Krios to Agios Fokas, Martselo, Parasporos, Souvlia, Agia Irini (Phinikas), Pounta.
For the last seven years, the World Windsurfing Championship is held at the Golden Coast.
Facilities of water sports exist in Tserdakia, in Golden Coast, in Pounta and in Santa Maria which are all offer courses and rental of equipment for windsurfing. Favourable coasts for surf are Tserdakia, Golden Coast, Santa Maria,Pounta, Lolantonis,Purgaki, Glufa etc.
Paros has lots of windsurfing associations.
Information on Surfing – Kite Surf
“Sunwind” Fysilanis Theodoros ,Tel. 22840 42900, Fax 22840 42901, Golden Coast Tel. 22840 42384, Mobile 6932737376, www.sunwind.gr
Punda Surf Club, Pounta, Georgoudakis Giorgos, Mobile 6977003855
Paros Surf – Dive Club, New Golden Coast, Tel. 22840 41878, Fax 22840 41978, Mobile 6977984498
Force 7, Golden Coast Tsardakia, Tel. 22840 41789/ 41714, www.force7paros.gr email: email@example.com
Bit of Salt, Kaparos Petros, Arhilohos Naoussa, Tel.& Fax 22840 42757,Tel. 22840 28625, www.bitofsalt.gr ,firstname.lastname@example.org
Paros Kite Pro Center,Pounta,Tel. & Fax 22840 42757, 92071, Mobile 6932336464, 6947180720, email:email@example.com, www.paroskite-procenter.com
“Βαck Loop” Vitsaxis Aggelos, Santa Maria,Tel. 22840 42562Mobile 6974744499
Georgoudakis Georgios, Pounta, Tel: 6977003855
Xarmi S.A. Tserdakia Marpissas, Tel: 2284041778
Surfing Beach Santa Maria Diving Centre & School, Santa Maria, Naousa. Tel: 22840 52491 -3, 22840 51013, Fax: 22840 51937, winter Tel: 22840 52880
The most important traditional events are connected with religious feasts (Christmas, New Years Eve, and Easter etc.).
The Carnival continues to be celebrated with particular zest.The local dance “ageranos” constitutes a characteristic of the feast.It is danced mainly by locals who create a circle, having their hands on each other’s shoulders by shaping a sort of a labyrinth at the end.
The more usual dances in Paros are the island syrtos and mpalos, which are accompanied by the traditional local musical organs, such as tsampouna and toumpaki, which often also accompany other traditional events (f.x. the carols).
The festival of Agios Georgios takes place on the Sunday after Easter, with offerings.
26th and 27th of June, festival of Agios Yannis, with offerings, traditional music and dances, resurgence of the custom of Kleidonas in the beach of Aliki.
6th of August, “feast of fish” in Aliki with seafood, souma and wine.
14th of September, festival of Timios Stavros.
Holy Friday Representation of the Passions of Christ at the procession of the Epitaph in Marmara and in Prodromos.
24th of June festival of Agios Ioannis Prodromos with resurgence of the custom of Kleidonas in Prodromos.
27th of July, festival of Agios Panteleimonas in Prodromos.
21st of November, festival in the Monastery of Panagia Kontiani in Prodromos.
17th of July, festival of Agia Marina in Marmara.
8th of September, Pera Panagia, festival with events in Marmara. C
Christmas, Christmas bazzar with participations from all commercial businesses, associations, students and volunteers
24th of June, festival of Agios Athanassios Parios.
17th of July, festival of Agia Marina.
26th of July, festival of Agia Paraskevi in Marathi.
27th of July, festival of Agios Panteleimonas.
The three days of Agio Pnevma (Holy Spirit) are celebrated the Agia Triada with a festival and events.
Holy Friday Representation of the Passions of Christ at the procession of the Epitaph.
On the 28-29th of August, festival in the Monastery of Agios Ioannis Kaparos.
Holy Friday Representation of the Passions of Christ at the procession of the Epitaph.
Easter Sunday, feast Tis Agapis (of Love) with roasted lamb, eggs, wine, music and traditional dances.
The resurgence of the ancient custom of “aiora” on the second day of Easter.
Festival of Agios Georgios in the homonym Monastery in Lagkada.
Zoodochou Pigi festival with traditional offerings of wine, raki, food and music in Aspro Horio.
Festival on the 6th of August, with events and dance.
Festival of Analipsi with island dances. Offering of octopus and ouzo in Piso Livadi.
Feast of Agios Ioannis Theologos, festival with music, dances, wine and titbits in Dryos.
Festival of Pantanassa on the 2nd of February.
Easter Sunday Feast with island dances. Offering of roasted lamb, and eggs.
On the 23rd of August, of the “nine days of Panagia” – representation of a pirate raid.
A feast follows, where wine and fish are offered. Dancing groups participate.
On the 29th of August, eve of Agios-Yannis Detis, food and dance.
Festival on the 1st of July in the monastery of Agioi Anargyroi. Offering of octopus, fish and raki.
Feast of Panagia on the 15th of August, the leading event of the summer, with cultural events.
Pirate evening with fireworks, music and island dances. Dancing groups participate. On the 3rd of November the custom refers in the Dionysian celebrations, in a feast dedicated to Agios-Giorgios Methystis, where the locals open their wine barrels.
All visitors can participate in the processes of vintage and wine production.
Dishes of the island that the visitor can try:
“gouna”, octopus in the coals, octopus with spaghetti, stuffed fish in the oven, kakavia soup, ladosoupa, chickpeas in the oven, “karavoloi”, kolitsanokeftedes, kokorozoumo, “diada”, amanitokeftedes, chtapodokeftedes, chortofouskotes, pie with fresh beans, reggosalata, volvoi skordalia, “kolopia”, revythokeftedes, revythosoupa.
Cheeses: mizithra, anthotyro, ladotyri, touloumisio, kefalisio armis. The Easter cheese pies and xerotigana are made with them.
Pastry: marzipan cakes, samota figs, petimezopita, skaltsounia, “rafiolia”, myzithropitakia.
Octopus with rice recipe:
(1/2 kilo onions, 1 kilo octopus (depending on the servings), 1 kilo tomatoes fresh or 1 box juice, 1/2 kilo rice, 2 spoonfuls butter, 1 glass oil, Pepper, Oregano, Nutmeg)
We wash the octopus and cut in small pieces (not very small). Put in the saucepan with the oil, the onions cut in slices and a little water without sizzling the octopus much, so that it does not become hard. We simmer for 10 minutes roughly, we add oregano, pepper and tomato juice, and leave it to simmer.
In another saucepan we put 6-7 glasses of water to boil. We wash well the rice and add it in the boiled water with a little salt. After the rice boils, we burn the butter and pour it over.
We put it in forms. We serve the octopus with the sauce above or on the side.
Paros is connected with ferry boat and speedboats with Piraeus, Rafina, Lavrion, but also with the remaining Cyclades, the islands of the Eastern Aegean and with Thessalonica and Crete, and has airplane connection with Athens and Thessalonica.
For more information:
Port Authority of Paros: Tel. 22840-21240
Port Authority of Piraeus: Tel. 210 4226000-4, 210 4593140, 210 4593150
Port Authority of Rafina: Tel. 22940 22300,
Port Authority of Thessalonica: Tel. 2310 531505.
Greek Telecome: 1440
Airport Paros: Tel. 22840-91257
International Airport: www.aia.gr
Olympic Airlines: Tel. 210 9666666
Reservations: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.olympicairlines.com
Office Paros: Tel. 22840 21900 / 22840 22511
Reservations: 22840 91257.
Transport takes place with buses, taxi, rented cars and motorcycles, and with fishing boats that execute regular itineraries towards the most distant beaches.
For more information:
KTEL: Tel. 22840 21395 Fax 22840 21133
(Fund Public of Income of Buses)
Paroikia Tel. 22840 21500
Naoussa Tel. 22840 53490
Marpissa Tel. 22840 41209/41386
Prodromos Tel. 22840 41427/41576
Text and Photos by www.cyclades-tour.gr, www.paros.gr