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HISTORY
Home Up ANTIPAROS CULTURE EVENTS SIGHTS MONUMENTS HISTORY TURING IN PAROS VILLAGES USEFUL  PHONES THE BEACHES

 

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The island has been inhabited since the Early Cycladic period (3200-2700 B.C.), and many objects have been found in settlements of that time, such as the one in Saliagos, an islet between Paros and Antiparos. It is believed that the two islands used to form one land in much earlier times. In Paros, important archaic burial grounds have been discovered in Abyssos and Kampos, while another archaic cemetery, recently unearthed in Parikia itself, is now being opened to the public.

In the Archaeological Museum of Parikia you can admire finds dating from the Early Cycladic period down to Classical as well as Roman times. The museum also houses a part of the frieze of the archaic site of Archilochion, where the tomb of the lyrical poet Archilochus is believed to be.

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In the earliest antiquity Paros used to be called Minoa, from the first settlers that came from the Minoan Crete. Later it was occupied by Arcadians, led by Parios son of Parrasios, who gave the island its definitive name. After the Arcadians, Paros was inhabited by Ionians.

Archaeological Museum of Parikia

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It was during their time that Paros started flourishing and even founded a colony on the island of Thassos.Paros was the birthplace of several poets and artists, among them the elegist Euenos, the sculptor Agoracritos, pupil of Phidias, and the painters Arkesilaos and Nicanor. The most famous Parian personality, though, was the lyrical poet Archilochus. He was the first poet in history who accentuated the personal element rather than the heroic, prevalent at that time. His style was satiric and highly sarcastic, even when the object was himself. Archilochus had a difficult and turbulent life, which enabled him to transcend the standards of his contemporaries and create such a distinctive revolutionary poetry.

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Paros was also famed in all the ancient world for its marble. It was of excellent quality, white and very fine grained, and came from quarries called «lichnites». This marble was used in masterpieces still surviving today, in Athens, Delos, and many other sites. Following the Persian wars, Paros was successively occupied by the Macedonias, the Ptolemies, Mithridates, and the Romans. After its conversian to Christianity, when it became a part of the Byzantine Empire, many churches and monasteries were built in Paros, the most famous among them being the church of Panagia Ekatontapiliani (Our Lady of the Hundred Gates) in Parikia.

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According to one tradition, the church was built by St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, and recent finds seem to support this. Others say that Katapoliani, as the locals call it, was built during the reign of Emperor Justinian, though there was a pre-existing church which in turn was constructed on the site of an ancient gymnasium or theatre.
In the centuries that followed Ekatontapiliani suffered much damage, the most severe being the collapse of its done. Now restored, it is considered one of the most important early Byzantine monuments in Greece. For Orthodox Church, though, it is not just a monument, it is a great shrine, a place for worship.

Ekatontapiliani

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The icon of the Virgin Mary is regarded as miraculous, and a big religious feast takes place here on the 15th of August, day of the Assumption. Thousands of pilgrims come seeking Her grace, and many moving scenes are witnessed by any attendant. In 1207 Paros was conquered by the Venetians and thence formed part of the Duchy of Naxos. Under Venetian and Frankish rule a thriving Catholic community established itself on the island, with families whose names still survive in Paros. The only dark spot in the history of Paros is the frequent pirate raids that ravaged the island and caused a lot of damage and human loss. After the Turkish rule, following the Greek War of Independence, Paros was incorporated in the Greek State along with the rest of the Cyclades.

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Last modified:07/01/1999