What to See in Paros
A walk through the town will give you the chance to visit its main sights. Do not forget to visit:
The Panaghia Ekatodapiliani or Katopiliani church, one of the most significant monuments of the Paleohristian period in Greece, which was named after the imposing dimensions of the church building. The architectural complex dates back to mid-6th century B.C. The oldest frescos found in the church date back to the 7th - 8th centuries
The Archeological Museum, with exhibits dating back from the Prehistoric to the Historic years. - The Frankish castle (13th century), located at the centre of the traditional settlement.- Aghios Konstadinos church, with the exceptional architectural features (in the Castle). - The churches of Aghia Marina, Panaghia Stavrou, Aghia Aikaterini, Evangelismos, Aghia Anna (located at the south end of the coastal road). - The building of the primary school (1901). - The windmill, at the port. - The bust of Mando Mavrogenous.
The exceptional Munucipal Library. - The three marble fountains (18th century.), constructed by the Prince of Wallachia Nikolaos Mavrogenis and mentioned in the poem "Axion Esti" written by Odysseas Elytis.- The ruins of the archaic temple of Athena (525 B.C.)- The outdoor sanctuary dating back to the Archaic period.
The Hellenistic residences dating back to the 3rd century B.C. The eastern gate of the ancient wall.
The pottery and sculpture ateliers dating back to the Hellenistic period.- The Asklipios sanctuary, (4th century B.C.) situated on a hill on the route to Alyki. - The Pythios Apollo sanctuary (4th century B.C.) near the one of Asklipios. - The arcade building dating back to the late Ancient years, in Krios. - The Monasteries of Taxiarxes, 3.5 km NE, Loggovardas, 4.5 km NE, and Christos Dasos, 5 km S.
The marble mines (located in Marathi 4.5 km E of Paroikia), which were in service from the 3rd millennium B.C. until the 19th century. There you can visit the extraction tunnels and the ruins of industrial 19th century buildings (hard to access nonetheless possible to visit)- Petaloudes (Butterflies), 6 km S, in “Psichopiana”: where butterflies of the species Panaxia Quadripundactaria appear during the summer.
For more than 1500 years, the island of Paros commemorates the Assumption (or Dormition) of the Virgin Mary. Τhe sacred temple of Panayia Ekatontapiliani, The Church of Our Lady of One Hundred Gates, celebrates the Dormition of the Virgin with traditional religious ceremonies attracting locals and tourists alike.
The Church is situated northeast of the capital of Paros, Paroikia, near the island’s port. Many stories revolved around the foundation, the name and the architect of the church. However, a research conducted in the 20th century demonstrated that the church’s rightful owners were Saint Constantine and Saint Helen.
The Church of Our Lady of One Hundred Gates is one of the oldest monuments of Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture in Greece. Forty years ago, a major renovation revealed the existence of a 4th century church at this site, namely, two centuries before the Justinian epoch. Throughout the centuries, the temple suffered extensive damages, resulting in the distortion of its imposing style. In 1959, Professor Orlandos started the restoration of the temple in the Justinian style, a diligently work completed in 1966.
Regarding the painting decoration of Panayia Ekatontapiliani, it is worth mentioning the frescoes adorning the church and the surrounding chapels, where a great number of portable icons were found. The icons of Panayia Ekatontapiliani, Christ and the Dormition of the Virgin Mary placed on the iconostasis of the main temple are silver-plated, donated by Nikolaos Mavroyenis, the 18th century Parian prince of the Danubian Principalities of Moldova and Wallachia.
The festivities for the Dormition of the Virgin Mary hold throughout the day. Inside the Church, vespers and eulogy are chanted, whereas in the evening the Litany of the Holy Icon and the Epitaph fill the streets of Paroikia with warm feelings and religious emotion.
In the night, spectacular fireworks light up the sky, while locals from little fishing boats hold red smoky signal flares colouring the atmosphere with religious mystique. The ferryboats blow their horns in ecstatic joy, and dancers colorfully dressed in their traditional costumes whirl to the tunes of Greek folk music.