INFORMATION ABOUT PAROS ISLAND
Paros is one of the most popular islands of Cyclades. Thousands of visitors arrive in the island each year. Paros is one of the most graphic islands of Cyclades maintaining inalterable its unique Cycladic beauty. It is from the biggest islands of Cyclades with an extent of 186 sq. km. It is located west of Naxos and east of Antiparos, at the centre of sea routes through the Aegean, about 90 nautical miles from Piraeus.
Paros is linked to Piraeus and Rafina on the mainland, and connected to the other islands in the Cyclades group as well as the eastern Aegean islands, Thessaloniki, and Crete by high speed and conventional ferries. You can travel through F/B, “Catamaran” or even “Flying Dolphins”. The travel duration from Piraeus port is 4,5 hours with F/B and 2,5 - 3 hours with high speedboats. You can also travel by plane from the International Athens Airport and the airport of Salonica.
The mountain of Profitis Elias is located in the centre of the island creating hills that lead to beautiful beaches. Paros is from the most fertile islands of Cyclades. Paros has a temperate island climate. Winters are usually mild, with little rainfall. During the summer and mainly in August is noted for the strong winds or meltemia (greek word for strong winds). The viticulture is very developed and the island has wine factories with a very big production of wine. Paro’s wines are famous all over the world. Paros also produces oil, cereals and fruits. Locals are also occupied in agriculture, fishing, and stockbreeding with big productions of local cheeses. The subsoil is mostly granite, with strips of limestone. The marble of Paros “lychnitis” was prized in antiquity because of its brilliance and semi translucent quality. Famous sculptors gave form and constituted main source of wealth for the island in all periods of history.
Paroikia is the capital of island, located in the western coast. It is one of the most popular resorts with intense night life. The island’s harbour is located in Paroikia. You can find there banks, post, health centre, internet cafe, travel agencies and offices for renting cars and bikes. You can also find hotels, rooms to let and campings (Livadia, Crios, Parasporos). All over Paroikia you can find taverns and restaurants that serve tasty dishes. In the alleys round the Castle (Kastro) in the “Old Market” you will find many kinds of shops.
Naoussa is the second in line most popular region of Paros. It is a graphic but very secular fish village, which attracts a lot of tourists. Paros allocates a lot of settlements such as Lefkes, Marmara, Prodromos, Kostos, Marpissa, Piso Livadi, Dryos, Aggairia, and Alyki.
PAROS ISLAND HISTORY
The first traces of social life in Paros were found in the area of Saliagkos, between Paros and Antiparos, one of the oldest prehistoric Aegean settlements, dated to the fifth or fourth millennium B.C.
Ruins from the Bronze Age (3200-1100 B.C.) of an Early Cycladic settlement have been found at various sites around Paroikia, while noteworthy traces of settlements from the same period have been uncovered at Kampos, Dryos, Koukounaries, Plastiras, Glyfa, and Farafas. During Minoan times, Paros emerged as a large military and commercial centre, and was colonized by settlers from Crete. According to mythology, the island was settled by Alkaios, who established the first city at the site of present-day Paroikia and named it Minoa, or royal city. Discoveries of Mycenaean culture have been found at Koukounaries, above Naoussa, and on Kastro hill at Paroikia.
During the Geometric era in 1100 - 700 B.C. Paros blooms economically from the trade of marble. Agriculture and stockbreeding are developed.
The archaic season in 700 - 480 B.C. brings a lot of changes in Paros. In 680 B.C. parians found a colony in Thassos where they exploit gold deposits along the Thrace shore. The famous sculpture workshops are established while in the 7th century B.C., poetry also flourishes on the island thanks to Archilochus, whose work is compared to that of Homer.
Classical era in 480-323 B.C. it’s a fact for Paros. The oligarchy ruling the island welcomes the Persians and follows their fleet in in the expeditions against Greece. In the wake of the Persians’ defeat, Themistocles forces Paros to join the Athenian League. In the arts, the period is marked by the works of Agorakritos and Scopas. Towards the end of classical times, Paros allies with Macedonia, an alliance that maintains until the death of Alexander the Great.
During the Hellenistic period (323-167 B.C.), Paros is under the rule of the Ptolemies for a long period.
During the Roman era (167 B.C.- A.D. 330).Paros as well as the rest of Cyclades belongs to the Roman Empire. The growth of the island stops and is used as a place of exile.
In the Byzantine era (330-120), Christianity takes root on the island in the fourth century, when Panagia Ekantotapyliani becomes the first church built on the island, at the orders of Saint Elena.
The period of Venetian rule in 1204 – 1537 A.C., Paros is included in the Duchy of the Aegean. Locals work in the fields as serfs and suffer from repeated pirate raids. Naoussa becomes the base of pirates. During that season the fortified settlements at Paroikia, Naoussa, and Kefalos (Marpissa) are built. .
The island is virtually deserted after its capture by the pirate Barbarossa during the Turkish rule (1537-1821). The devastated island is overrun by the Turks (1560), but during the Russo-Turkish wars (1770-1777), Naoussa’s sheltered bay is used by the Russian fleet as anchorage. Paros was an active member in the Greek revolution in 1821. The island suffered during the Nazi occupation, and after the Second World War, a large segment of the population is forced to migrate, first to Piraeus and then abroad. Around 1960, the island begins to experience the first signs of development, thanks largely to the start of a tourism boom.