SIGHTS - MONUMENTS
Parikia, the island,s capital, lies on the west coast and is also its main port. It occupies the same site as the ancient city and its oldest quarter, more or less at the centre of the town, is clustered around the hill of Kastro on the Southwest side of the harbour. It is a typical Cycladic town with paved streets, archways (volta), dazzling white two-storey houses interspersed with churches and windmills. A road leads from the harbour to the market place (agora), at the heart of the town, where all manner of wares may be purchased. The castle or Kastro stands on the highest point of the town, Southwest of the harbour. It was build on the site of the ancient acropolis and much of the building material comes from ancient buildings, since column drums and fragments of marble are nowadays visible in the restored sector of the castle. Excavations conducted here have brought to light the ruins of an Archaic temple of Demeter (adjacent to the present church of St. Constantine). There are very few extant remains of the Venetian castle on the east and Southeast flank (parts of the wall and a tower).
The Byzantine church of St. Constantine is outstanding not only on account of its unique architecture but because of its gilded wood carved iconostasis. In various parts of the town there handsome mansions belonging to eminent island families, some even with their coat of arms incorporated over the lintel. There are also many tiny churches with wood carved iconostases. However, the most important church of all is that of the Virgin Katapoliani (or Ekatontapyliani) on the northern outskirts of Parikia. One of the oldest Early Christian basilicae in Greece, it was founded, tradition relates, by either St. Helen or St. Constantine. In the course of the study and restoration of this monument it became apparent that this large church dedicated to the Virgin (feast day 15th August) was built at the end of the 4th century. To right and left are small side chapels and to the south a Baptistry. During the reign of Justinian (6th century) additions were made to the church and it thus acquired the form we see today. There is a Byzantine Museum in one of the buildings in its precinct. The modern building a short distance from the church is the Archaeological Museum, in which are housed finds from the Neolithic to the Roman era. Noteworthy exhibits include vases, sculptures (Skopa´s Nike) and a section of the Parian Chronicle (dated to Hellenic times), found in 1627 built into the island/s history from 2000 - 264/63 BC are recorded in chronological order. Ancient sanctuaries have been discovered at Delion (sanctuary of Apollo) to the north of the bay, near the cave of Archilochos, on the Kounados hill (sanctuary of Aphrodite and Eileityia) on the Northwest side of the town, while in the Southwest are ruins of an Asklepieion. 10km Northeast of Parikia is the gulf of Naoussa, the largest on the island. On the way to Naousa, about 1 km. outside Parikia, in the locality know as Treis Ekklesies, there arevestiges of an Early Christian basilica and three Byzantine churches, further on is the Longovardas monastery (6km. from Parikia), founded in 1683, which has a significant library and icon-painting atelier.
Naoussa, with its pristine white houses , Postbyzantine churches (St. Athanasios, St. John the Theologian, the Saviour etc.), its monastery (St. George) and the little harbour with the Venetian castle is one of the most beautiful parts of Paros. From here you can visit the villages on the east and south side of the island (there is another road from Parikia to these villages) Marmara, Marpissa, with its ruined Venetian castle on top of Kefalos hill and the monastery of St. Anthony, Piso Livadi and Drios, Kostos and Lefkes, with its 17th century church of the Holy Trinity.
A short way beyond Lefkes is the convent of Thapsana with its miraculous icon of the Virgin Myrtidiotissa. In the locality of Marathi (4km. from Parikia) there is an ancient marble quarry. 6km from Parikia is the region of Psychopiana with its verdant vegetation, running water and myriads of butterflies. Not far of is the nunnery of Christ of the Wood (tou Dasous), repository of the shroud of St. Arsenios. This is a convenient place for visiting villages on the south side of the island Alyki, Angeria, where the airport is located, or to proceed to Punda from where boats leave for Antiparos. Paros has a large number of beaches, ideal for swimming, fishing and sea sports. At Parikia: Livadia, Krios, Aghios Phokas, at Naoussa (west side) Mikro and Megalo Piperi, Limnes, Kolimbithres with its spectacular rock formations, reminiscent of sculptures and Aghios Ioannis, on the east side: Aghioi Anargyroi, Xifara, Langeri, Santa Maria, Ambelas.
All are easily accessible on foot or by bus and car, as well as by small boat which make regular trips, leaving from Parikia for Krios and Livadia, and from Naoussa for Kolimbithres, Langeri, Santa Maria, Aghios Ioannis. There are stretches of sand at Logaras, Piso Livadi, Drios and Aliki. Those with a boat may investigate other beaches, as well as the offshore islets. Refuelling stations at Parikia, Naoussa, Prodromos, Drios and Aliki. Paros has numerous hotels, pensions, furnished apartments and rooms available for a pleasant stay.
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