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Marpissa, Paros Island

The village of Marpissa, or Tsipidos as it was its previous names, still in use by the older residents of the island, is situated at a distance less than 17 kilometers southeastern to the town of Paros (Paroikia). It is an inland village, but very close to the sea (less than 2 kilometers far away). According to Homer, the cute village owes its name to the daughter of Evenos, the mythic king of Aetolia; from the Iliad we are informed that Apollo, the god of sun and the hero Idas, son of the king of Messenia fought for the beautiful girl. Today, the scenic village with the very mild climate counts some 500 permanent residents.

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If you feel like staying here, far from the noisy tourist resorts and the cosmopolitan beaches of the island, the village offers several alternatives for accommodation within a quiet and nice environment. As it happens in almost all the villages of the inland, food is good in the traditional taverns of Marpissa and the broader area and you will have the chance to enjoy some dishes of the local kitchen. You will also enjoy the traditional cafés, where you will find refreshments, coffee, but also the traditional ouzo. The village and the hospitable residents keep almost intact the atmosphere of traditional life in the Cyclades, not only in architecture of their settlement, but also in the way of everyday life and the old customs. Tradition here is not just a folk event; it is the way in which the people lead life.

Several beaches attracting many tourists, at a short distance from the village, all of them very nice are available for swimming: the closer ones are those of Logaras and Pisso Pisso Livadi where you will also find a small port, but of course you may drive farer to other beaches.

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Sightseeing in Marpissa and around

The architecture and the plan of the settlement are very interesting: most of its buildings, very well preserved, go back to the 16th and 17th century. When strolling about the narrow streets of the village, the visitors will discover the real sense of the traditional life in Cycladic islands: simple solutions are everywhere present, while nothing is missing; life is based on the alternation of light with shadow, on the certitude of the small and the ease of the necessity. The good natured, hospitable locals lead a life without complexity, simple but interesting and great. The old picturesque wind mills, all of them working continuously in the past, but now out of work, and the numerous small white washed old churches complete the image and the original character of the village.

Some of the most characteristic churches are that of Evangelismos (Annunciation) situated at the homonymous square and the church of Panaghia Anapliotissa, dedicated to Virgin Mary. The tradition of this latter states that the icon of Virgin Mary, painted in Smyrni, came here from Nafplion in the Peloponnese, without human intervention, crossing the sea. Nice churches are also the former cathedral, Aghios Modestos and the church of Metamorphosis (Trransfiguration of Jesus Christ), the actual cathedral of the village. This latter is a Byzantine style church built during 1960s’ at the upper part of the village. Finally, it is worth seeing the church of Mesosporitissa and of Aghios Demetrios. All the churches have still interesting and precious religious objects, although the most important and fragile of them are now found in the small Byzantine Museum of the settlement.

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Eastern to the village, on the top of Kefalos hill you will see the Holy Monastery of Aghios Antonios, overlooking the area. The church was built in the 16th century and is a dependency of the Monastery of Aghios Georgios (St. George) of Langada. Once here, the visitor will enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of the island. At the courtyard of the Monastery you will see a lot of architecture parts of ancient temples and other ancient buildings; it is characteristic that the pulpit in the church is based on the capital of a column placed upside down. Just below the monastery, you will see the ruins of numerous small and bigger churches, most of them twins, both orthodox and catholic, a find indicating very well the impact of the Catholic church on the social life of the island in the past. Traces of the Venetian castle are visible on the hill. The locals call the castle “Kastro tis Orias” (“the castle of the beautiful woman”), in honor of the beautiful wife of the lord Nicolas Sommarippa, who lived in the 16th century. According to tradition this lord had heroically resisted to the attack of the famous Ottoman admiral Barbarossa, who finally took possession of the castle and destroyed it to the ground. The name of the hill (Kefalos) comes from mythology: some myths state that Kefalos was the son of Hermes and Ersi, or of Deion and Diomeda, the daughter of Xouthos. It is also said that Io, the goddess of dawn fell in love with Kefalos and the offspring was Phaethon, the god of sun. The locals state that Phaethon is still alive in the place: every morning he wakens the sun, thus offering a breathtaking spectacle of the sunrise to those who are lucky enough to be there on the appropriate time.

At the South of the village, some 5 kilometers far away, at an altitude of some 300 meters, it is situated the Holy Monastery of Aghios Georgios (St. George) of Langada, established in the 16th century. The church follows the characteristic Cycladic architecture and the recent restoration and renovation resulted in making it accessible by visitors. If you go there, apart from the visit to the Monastery, you will also enjoy a wonderful walking in one of the most beautiful landscapes of Paros, an experience that will be “crowned” by the breathtaking view you will see: almost the whole island at your feet and the island of Naxos across, far away in the horizon; it is a scenery, really worth taking excellent photos.

Northern to Marpissa, on the way to Prodromos, you may also visit the Monastery of Aghios Panteleimonas, built in 1655. But the old churches and ruined monasteries in the area are really countless.

Museums and Collections at Marpissa

Although a small village, Marpissa has three museums which are worth visiting. These are: the Byzantine Museum, beside the church of Metamorphosis, the cathedral of the village, the Sculpture Museum of Nicos Perantinos and the small Folk Collection housed in a building at Aghiou Nicolaou square.

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Cultural Activities and Feasts

A local religious feast (panighyri) takes place on the 6th of August in honor of the Transfiguration of Christ. The religious feast is accompanied by several other cultural events, attracting many people; this feast is the most important summer event of the village.

In summer you will also have the chance to attend the visual arts’ exhibitions organized in the village, in honor of the well known Greek sculptor Nicos Perantinos, of Parian origin, who had donated post mortem some 200 sculptures, now displayed in the small but very interesting museum named after him.

But the most characteristic feast of the village is Easter: the representation of the Passions of Christ that takes place on the evening of Good Friday, during the process of the Epitaph and the feast of Love, on Easter Sunday are unique and attract many people to the village both Greeks and foreign tourists.

In case of any problem, the village has a local Medical Center, a pharmacy and a Police Station; and of course you may address to the corresponding services of the capital Paroikia, some 17 kilometers northwestern to Marpissa.

Access to the village is possible by public buses, running regularly, and by private or rented car and motorbikes. If you have a boat or small yacht, the small port of Pisso Livadi is available for mooring.
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