is a beautiful, cosmopolitan but also scenic island of the Aegean and belongs to the complex of Cyclades. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations. It is situated almost at the center of Cyclades and is the third bigger island of the complex, after Naxos and andros.
Its extent is a bit less than 200 square kilometers and the coastline is more than 110 kilometers long. It counts more than 13.000 permanent residents. The island is rich in natural beauty, it has interesting monuments and museum, a lot of churches, many of which of the Byzantine period, the most important being the famous church of Ekatontapyliani. It has also scenic traditional settlements, hospital people, excellent sea and very well organized beaches, high quality facilities for tourists, very good coastal connection with Piraeus and a small airport. All these will make your holidays not simply pleasant but unforgettable.
According to archaeological evidence, Paros was inhabited as early as in the Neolithic period (Koukounaries) and during the Early Bronze age there were established several coastal settlement at Dryos, Pyrgos, Plastiras, Kambos, as well as at the sites of Delion and Kastro in Paroikia. The ancient place-names Minoa and Minoes indicate that Minoans settled on the island. During the last centuries of the Early Bronze age an important fortified settlement was established at Koukounaries, within the bay of Naoussa.
Following mythology, the name of the island is owed to its first settler, Paros who was said to have come from Arcadia in the Peloponnese. Later on, the island was settled by Ions from Attica and Paros became an important economic and cultural center throughout ancient times. It had founded colonies and the trade, mainly of the local marble flourished. The most important colony of Paros was Thassos, whereas other colonies were founded at the Hellespont and the coasts of Adriatic Sea. One of the most famous Parians was the Archilochos, the well known lyric poet of the Archaic period, but Paros was also proud of several important sculptors. During the Persian wars , the Persians used the island as a marine base for their fleet. After the end of the Persian wars it became an ally of Athens as early as in 478 and followed its destiny. Later on it passed in the hands of Macedonians, of the Romans and of the Byzantines.
During the Byzantine period the island flourished, but also suffered from the invasions of the pirates, of the Arabs and of the Slavs. After the Francs of the 4 th Crusade had conquered Constantinopolis, Paros passed to the potent Venetian families of Crispi, Somaripa and Venieri. Although the Venetians constructed strong fortresses at Naoussa, at Kefalos and at Paroikia, the island was occupied by Barbarossa. Ever since, the island is found at the center of the conflicts between Venetians and Ottomans and later on between Russians and Ottomans. In one of these wars, in the 17 th century, both the church of Ekatontapyliani and the town of Paros suffered destructions. And of course, the island always suffered from the pirates’ invasions, as the pirates used the small islets between Paros and Antiparos as a shelter and a base. During the war between Russians and Ottomans (1768-1774) the island served as the base of the Russian fleet.
From the very beginning of the Revolution of 1821 Paros took an active part to it. It was on this island that died and was buried the heroine Manto Mavrogenous (1796-1840). After the liberation and the establishment of the Greek State in 1830, Paros follows the destiny of Greece.
During the Italian and German domination in the World War II a movement of resistance was developed in the island: the locals had established a secret base in Antiparos from which they helped people to escape to the Middle East.
How to get to Paros
Access to the island is very easy by ship from Piraeus. A lot of ships of any kind depart daily to Paros: high speed or conventional ferry boats connect the island with Athens (Piraeus) but also with almost all the islands of the Aegean, both the closer and the more remote ones. There are also local connections with Antiparos, Ios, Santorini, Syros and other neighboring islands. The airport, apart from the regular connection with Athens via the Greek air companies, also receives charter flights from several European countries. Finally, if you wish to reach the island by private yacht, the ports of Paroikia, of Naoussa, but also the ports of smaller settlements and villages are suitable for mooring and fuel, water and other supply.
What is Paros? Another blessed place, where you may taste and find high quality products. You may taste and bring along the excellent gruyere and other local cheeses, the famous wines and the fine vinegar. If you are lucky enough you may find honey; don’t miss to bring some back home. Ask for “gouna” for your ouzo; gouna is sun-dried grilled mackerel, an excellent dainty morsel going very well along with ouzo. If you wish to taste a typical dish of the local cooking ask for “revithia” (chick peas) baked in a ceramic vessel, or for “revithokeftedes” (chick-peas cakes) or “kolopia”, a pie with zucchini or spinach. You will also enjoy gorgeous sweets, as “myzithropita” (sweet pies with cheese and honey), “amygdalota”, with almonds and “skaltsounia”, small sweets with local honey.
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