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Paroikia: Paros' Capital & Main Port

paros greek islandparos greek islandOn Paros' western shore lies Paroikia, the island's capital, also called Paros Town. This is Paros' main port where ferry passengers arrive and depart. Visitors to this beautiful natural harbor are greeted by its solitary but no longer functional windmill. The windmill is a central reference point, and restaurants and other amenities fan out around it. The present town rests on the same site as the ancient city.

Paroikia is the largest town on the island. Facing it from the port you'll find most of the accommodations and beaches to your right. Most of the restaurants and bars are to your left towards the built up area of Livadia, with its tree-lined beach. The main bus station is harbour side as are the water taxi connections to beaches near the town and to Antiparos.

Paroilkia's oldest, most charming and most traditional section of town is roughly in the center and clustered around the Kastro on the southwest side of the harbor. The castle (kastro) sits on the highest eminence of the village and is built on the site of the ancient acropolis. The castle is constructed from many ancient marble columns and fragments of the temples of Apollo and Demeter.

paros greek islandIn the village's northern outskirts between Parikia and Livadia stands Paros and Paroikia's most important church, The Church of 100 Doors or the Ekatonapyliani (open 8-1 and 4-9, no shorts, modest dress).

Ekatonapyliani translates to 100 doors (or 100 gates). There aren't a hundred, but there are a lot. The church is dedicated to the Virgin Katapoliani. It is one of the oldest Christian basilicas in Greece. The church has several outstanding features including its gilded wood iconostasis.

paros greek islandparos greek islandThe building is actually three churches: Agios Nikolaos, the largest, has Parian marble columns and the aforementioned iconostasis. The others are the Church of Our Lady and the Baptistery.

A short distance away and behind the church is a modern structure containing the Archeological Museum of Paros (open Tue-Sun, 8:30-2:30, fee). Within is contained a section of the artistic history of Greece known as the "Parian Chronicles." This early collection of marble tablets were discovered in the 17th Century. Some of the Parian Chronicles have been removed to Oxford.

The Archeological Museum also has a Gorgon, a 5th Century Winged Victory, a mosaic of the Labors of Hercules, various amphora and numerous swastikas, which are early solar symbols whose rays go opposite to those of the Nazi symbol.

Along the waterfront, you'll find the ancient cemetery, which dates to the 7th Century. Roman graves, burial pots and sarcophagi are lit up at night in the cemetery.

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