General Information about Paros.

58Paros Situated in the centre of the Cyclades islands, Paros is the very picture of a traditional Greek island. There is much to see and do on the island, the Parian wine is famous and of course, there are wonderful beaches.

The Parian marble is famous since ancient times, and has also provided the island with a good income.

Paros developed its tourist industry in the late 1960s and it is, today, one of the most visited islands in the Cyclades. Paros has almost everything that a holidaymaker to a Greek island expects. For instance, a cosmopolitan atmosphere, with intensive nightlife combined with ancient monuments, monasteries, churches and, most of all, wonderful sandy beaches. There are also many areas which maintain a tranquil and traditional pace of life, together with all of the above, Paros has it all.

Paros History Paros has been inhabited since at least 4000BC. It started flourishing around 3000BC, and all over the Cyclades the Parian marble can be found from this time. The island was then called Minoa which indicates that the island’s civilization was Minoan (Cretan) then. Later on, the Parian marble was to be used in Delphi, Delos and the temple of Poseidon in Sounio.

The earliest people we know of living on the island was a tribe from Peloponnesos, the Arcades. Mixing with the Ionians they became a strong force in the area of the Cyclades. They traded their marble with the Phoenicians, and until the 6th century BC they had great power in the Aegean sea, with colonies on Thassos and other places.

Towards the end of the Classical period Paros was ruled by Sparta, then the Macedonians and finally the Romans. Chistianity came to Paros around AD300. St Helen (Ag Eleni) then had a church built to the Virgin Mary, Katapolianis. You can still see the first baptismal font there. This church is also called the church of 100 doors and according to an old legend Greece will conquer Istanbul when the 100th door is found.

During the Byzantine period Paros continued to be an important place because of its marbles, but around 900 the island was totally deserted when the Arabs invaded. It was repopulated though and came under Venetian rule in the beginning of the 13th century.

During the Turkish rule the islanders were heavily taxed, but allowed much freedom. The islanders built many churches and monasteries during this time. Paros took a strong part of the Greek revolution against the Turks in 1821 and was soon freed.

The two most famous names from Paros are Archilochus, lyrical poet in the 7th century BC, and Scopas, sculptor & architect from the 4th century BC.

8What to Do : There are various water sports around the island and you can also go scuba diving, which is quite unusual in Greece. You can also go biking or jogging quite easily since the island is basically flat. Among other things that have made Paros so popular is that the island is ideal for windsurfing and every summer Paros hosts windsurfing competitions. There are many sporting facilities on the island, most of them located in the larger hotels. The island also has diving and snorkelling schools and there are many places where you can enjoy these activities, either as part of a group or independently. Fishing is another activity that many enjoy and the island boasts plenty of places to do this.