The ancient marble quarries in Paros
A remarkable sight just outside Parikia
The ancient quarries, next to the village Marathi in Paros
Next to the picturesque settlement Marathi, only a few kilometers from Parikia, you will find the ancient marble quarries of Paros. Here, they used to quarry the famous Parian marble, also known as "lychnites". It was given this name because marble was quarried in deep galleries, under the light of lamps ("lychnos").
The trade of this transparent marble, which supported the economy of Paros, was conducted in every historical period. Due to its clarity and its transparency, light reaches a depth of 7 centimeters (in the case of the marble from Penteli Mountain, light it only reaches a depth of 1, 5 centimeters).
That's why the Parian marble was in great demand by many of the great sculptors of various periods, who created important monuments of the antiquity and statues, such as: the Venus of Milos, the Hermes of Praxiteles, the Kore from the Acropolis, the Nike of Delos, the Nike of Samothrace, the temple of Apollo and the Sifnian treasure at Delphi, the temple of Zeus at Olympia, the temple of Apollo at Delos. Many of the exhibits of the Archaeological Museum of Paros are also made of Parian marble.
The quarries date back to the proto-Cycladic period and they stopped being exploited in the 19th century. These underground quarries of lychnites are unique in the world. At the same area you will also find the open air magnesite quarries. Here, the visitors can see the quarry corridors, galleries and inscriptions created by ancient artists. Today it is possible to enter the site from two different entrances, the entrance at the cave of the nymphs and the entrance at the cave of Pan.
Recently, a Sculpture Symposium was held at the site of the ancient quarries, at the initiative of the Municipality of Paros, aiming at their promotion.