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Parikia Sightseeing

Paroikia is not only a place for holidays, amusement and relax. It has a long history, going back to the remote past, whose traces are evident everywhere in the town and in the whole island, waiting for the visitor to discover them. The archaeological finds show that the ancient city of Paros was an important city for quite a long period of time. The visitor should not miss to visit the ancient ruins, as the remains of the Archaic temple of Athena (Minerva), the archaic sanctuary, the eastern gate of the ancient fortress, the sanctuaries of Aesculapius and of Apollo, established in the classical period and being in use even in the Hellenistic period. It is also worth seeing the remains of the Hellenistic times: mosaic floors, private houses partly preserved, as well as the ceramic workshop and the sculpture workshop where it was sculpted the famous Paros marble.

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The visitor will be impressed by the great number of the Christian and Byzantine monuments and churches. Strolling about the town, you will certainly come across a lot of churches. But what will really fascinate you is the famous church of Ekatontapyliani or Katapoliani; it is possibly the most important monument of the Early Christian period in Greece. In fact, it is not only a church but a complex of buildings surrounding the church which was constructed during the 6th century on the place of an earlier Christian basilica and of a Roman gymnasium. Excavations on the site that started in 1963 and were carried out by the eminent Greek scholar Anastasios Orlandos, have brought to light several finds, among which the mosaic floor of the Roman gymnasium and several frescoes of the 7th and 8th centuries.

The Byzantines were succeeded by the Venetians who also have left the traces of their domination in the city. The fortress that they constructed in 1260 is still preserved in pretty good condition; architectural parts of ancient temples enwalled in the masonry of the castle are clearly visible today.

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We should not miss to mention the monuments of more recent times, as the windmills at the port and at the southern end of Paroikia (this latter has become a bar), the nice buildings housing the National Bank, the Elementary school and the Municipal Library, the bust of Manto Mavrogenous, the heroine of the Greek Revolution of 1821 who died on the island, the fountains of Mavrogenis, scattered around the town. It is also worth mentioning the numerous churches, among which the church of Aghia Anna beside the Town Hall, the church of Aghios Konstantinos and several others; in all of them you will see nice icons, wood carved or marble icon screens and other religious artworks.

Finds from all historic periods of the island have been gathered in the Archaeological Museum of Paros and in the Religious Museum of Ekatontapyliani, where there are displayed numerous finds from the excavations and the old churches of the island.

What mostly fascinates the visitors of Paros is the way in which the locals have achieved to link the monuments of the past and their everyday life with an intense tourist development.

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The area around the town has also a lot of interesting sightseeing. You may visit the nearby beach of Parasporos with a cute scenic bar on the beach of the small cove, or the beach of Aghia Irini (St. Irene) with the homonymous church, the palm trees on the sand and the small church of Aghios Georgios a bit higher; once there you may enjoy the nice view of the small islets of Aghios Spyridon with the homonymous small church on one of them. You may also go to (A)krotiri with the nice sandy beach, or to Krios where you will see an interesting vaulted building; at the cape of Aghios Fokas, at the entrance of the Bay of Paroikia, there is the small twin church of Aghios Sostis and Analipsi (Assumption of Jesus Christ) and the ruins of an old lighthouse; at Delion, upon a hill some 3 kilometers northern to the town you may see the ancient temples of Apollo and Artemis (Diana); at the entrance of the port you will see the skerries of Portes, quite dangerous for the ships.

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On the hill above the town you may visit the impressive monastery of Aghioi Anargyri situated within a wood of pine trees; from here you will enjoy a wonderful view. On the way to Naoussa you will see three post-Byzantine churches with several architectural parts of ancient buildings enwalled in the masonry. At a distance of some 3,5 kilometers northern to the town there is the Holy Monastery of Taxiarches and 4,5 kilometers at the Northeast you will find the famous Monastery of Longovarda, established in 1638. Finally, 6 kilometers southern to Paroikia, at the site of Psychopiana, you will see the well known area of the butterflies, a landscape of breathtaking beauty.

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