How did Paros survive many invasions and occupations by different empires and nations throughout history, and how did it retain its cultural identity and heritage?

Paros is a Greek island in the central Aegean Sea, part of the Cyclades group. It has a rich and diverse history that spans from the prehistoric times to the present day. Paros has witnessed many invasions and occupations by different empires and nations throughout history, but it has also managed to survive and retain its cultural identity and heritage. In this blog post, we will explore how Paros achieved this remarkable feat.

The ancient times

Paros has been inhabited since 3200 BC, according to archaeological evidence found on Saliagos, a small island between Paros and Antiparos. According to Greek mythology, the first king of Paros was Alkaios, a Cretan who built a city on the site of the present capital of Parikia. At that time, Crete traded goods with Egypt, Assyria, and the Balkans, and Paros was an ideal place due to its strategic position and fertile land. The Cretans named the island Minoa, an honorific title given to royal Cretan cities.

In 1100 BC, the Ionians came to conquer the island. After an initial defeat, they managed to win over the Minoans, destroyed their civilization, and became rulers of the island. Traces of the former civilization are apparent in the Mycenaean Acropolis near Kolimbithres. Around 1100 BC, when the Dorians attacked the Arcadia region, Arcadians fled to the island. Their leader was Paros, from whom the island took its name.

The 8th century BC was a prosperous period in the history of Paros, as the island became a maritime power. Apart from economic development, cultural flourishing also took place at that time. The Parian marble was in high demand, and works by Parian sculptors included the statue of Nike, the Temple of Apollo in Delos, the Asklepieion, the Apteros Nike (in the Louvre Museum), and others. Paros was also the birthplace of many ancient poets, such as Archilochus, who was the first to use personal elements instead of heroic ones in his poems.

During the Classical era, the oligarchs of Paros welcomed the Persians on the island and a large part of the army followed the Persian fleet in the campaigns against Greece. After the Persians were defeated in 480 BC, Themistocles forced Paros to become a member of the Athenian Alliance. By the end of the Classical period, Paros had allied with the Macedonians until the death of Alexander the Great. Some of the great discoveries from this era were the ancient pottery workshop in Tholos, with its fascinating works of art, and the ancient cemetery of Parikia.

The Roman and Byzantine eras

In the subsequent Roman era, Paros and the rest of the Cyclades constituted a province of the Roman Empire. Economic and cultural growth was stunted, and the island was used as an exile place. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Paros became part of the Byzantine Empire and its inhabitants converted to Christianity. This explains why numerous churches, chapels, and monasteries were built during those times. The most famous is the Church of Ekatontapiliani in Parikia. The church is believed to have been built after
the orders of Saint Helena, the mother of Constantine
the Great, and is considered one of
the most important Byzantine monuments
of Greece.

The Venetian and Ottoman eras

In 1207,
Paros was conquered by
the Venetians,
who established
the Duchy
of Naxos
and ruled
the island
for over three centuries.
The Venetians
the Frankish Castle
the ruins
of an ancient temple
in Parikia,
and fortified
the port
of Naoussa.
They also introduced
the feudal system,
and imposed
heavy taxes
and restrictions
the local population.
they also brought
some cultural influences,
such as
the Catholic faith,
the Italian language,
the Renaissance art.

In 1537,
Paros was conquered by
the Ottoman Turks
and remained under
the Ottoman Empire
the Greek War
of Independence
the Russo-Turkish War
in 1770–1775
Naoussa Bay
was the home base
the Russian Archipelago Squadron
of Count Alexey Orlov.
The Ottomans
the Greeks
to practice
their religion
and customs,
but also imposed
their own laws,
and administration.
The island
from piracy,
and famines,
and many people
to other places.

The modern times

Paros participated in the Greek War of Independence and was liberated in 1829. The island became part of the newly established Greek state and experienced a period of recovery and development. Paros contributed to the national struggles of Greece, such as the Balkan Wars, the World Wars, and the Civil War. Many Parian heroes and fighters emerged from these conflicts, such as Manto Mavrogenous, a heroine of the Greek Revolution, and Emmanuel Xanthos, one of the founders of the secret society Filiki Eteria.

Paros also witnessed a cultural revival, with the establishment of schools, libraries, newspapers, and associations. The island became a center of education and arts, attracting many scholars, writers, painters, and musicians. Some of the notable figures who lived or visited Paros were the poet Giorgos Seferis, the painter Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, the composer Manos Hadjidakis, and the novelist Margarita Liberaki.

In the second half of the 20th century, Paros became a popular tourist destination, thanks to its natural beauty, its rich history, its traditional architecture, and its lively nightlife. Tourism is now the main source of income for the island, but Paros also preserves its agricultural and fishing activities. Paros has a vibrant and diverse community, with locals, expatriates, artists, and visitors coexisting harmoniously. The island also hosts many cultural events and festivals throughout the year, such as the Paros Festival, the International Paros Jazz Festival, and the AegeanDocs Documentary Festival.


Paros is an island that has survived many invasions and occupations by different empires and nations throughout history, but it has also retained its cultural identity and heritage. Paros has a rich and diverse history that spans from the prehistoric times to the present day. Paros has witnessed many cultural influences, but it has also developed its own distinctive character and spirit. Paros is an island that combines tradition and modernity, history and art, nature and civilization. Paros is an island that invites you to discover its secrets and enjoy its charms.


  1. Paros history, Greece: Information about the history of Paros island

  2. History of Paros island | Greeka

  3. Paros – Wikipedia