A "dip" in time and in the history of Paros

The course of Paros over time

A few words about Paros' history

The ancient castle of Naoussa in Paros

Paros is an island of unique natural beauty, picturesque, bathed under the Aegean light and surrounded by blue-green waters. It also has a rich history, which is proved by the countless findings that were brought to light by the archaeological hoe, offering to the visitors the opportunity to follow the historical development of Paros by visiting the archaeological sites and the museums.

Embedded ancient stones in a village of Paros

The history of Paros begins in the Paleolithic period according to findings in caves and other natural sites. Important findings in Saliago (a small uninhabited island across Antiparos), confirm the existence of life in the Neolithic period (4300-3900 BC). Undying signs of the proto-Cycladic and the Cycladic period (3200-2000 BC), are the Cycladic figurines that have been found in graves. The most important Mycenaean palace in Cyclades at the location Koukounaries on the rocks, in Kolimpithres, is one of the most important findings of the Mycenaean period. An important period for Paros according to the findings was the Archaic period.

There are also findings from the Roman period and from the Byzantine period, a characteristic example of which is Ekatontapiliani.

The castles of Parikia, Naoussa, Kefalos and Marpissa date back to the Venetian period.

During the Turkish domination, the Parians were paying the respective taxes and there was a periodical Turkish presence, yet there are not any architectural findings of that period. With the liberation, a course begins in Paros, which is initially characterized by a rapid social development and by the participation in the social process of that time.

The castle of Parikia in Paros

Paros follows the course of the rest of Greece and mainly of the province in the fifties, which suffered from immigration, resulting in its abandonment. Two decades later, there was a recovery of this course for the complex of the islands and there was a change in Paros’ economy, which was now based on tourism, which also affected its identity.

Paros in a long-term perspective

Paros was inhabited since the 4th millennium BC and has known periods of big economic and artistic acme as well as periods of sacks, intense violence, decadence and obscurity.

The Palace at Koukounaries in Naoussa Paros

The historical landscape of Paros becomes clearer at the Bronze Age, after the discovery of the three great civilizations, the Cycladic, the Minoan and the Mycenaean civilization. Ruins of Cycladic settlements have been found at the areas Glypha, Drios, Kampos, Koukounaries, Plastiras and Faragas.

The settlement that is located on the hill of Kastro (Castle), in Parikia, which dates back to the proto-Cycladic period, is a characteristic example. Then, colonists came from the Minoan Crete that was at its zenith at that time, in Greece. They gradually turned Paros into an important commercial and military center. With the change of the political scenery, the Mycenaeans came to the fore; therefore Paros became an important center of this civilization. The Mycenaean remains that were found at Koukounaries and on the hill of Kastro in Parikia, the capital of Paros prove the existence of this civilization.

Exhibits from the archaeological museum of Paros

During the geometric period, Arcadian colonists came to the island; their leader, Paros, gave the island its current name. The Arcadians merged with the Ionians who appeared later and Paros became an important sea power through the trade of the Parian marble, which was well-known for its transparency. The marble, the natural source of wealth of Paros and its general prosperity brought cultural acme, especially during the Archaic period (7th century BC). At that time, lyric poetry flourished on the island, with the famous Parian lyric poet Archilochus.

During the classical period, Paros allies with the Persians who are trying to subjugate Greece. However, their defeat at the sea fight of Salamina leads the Persians to retreat and Themistocles to Paros, where he makes the residents of the island join the Athenian Hegemony. In 338 BC, Paros had lost its old power and submitted in chronological order to the Macedonians, to the Ptolemaic dynasty, to Mithridates and to the Romans. During this period, there were great sculptors working on the island such as Skopas the Parian. Paros was full of sculpture workshops, temples and other marvelous buildings.

Roman period - Turkish Rule

Paros' development stopped during the Roman period, since it was used along with other islands of the Cyclades complex as an exile place. Christianity comes to the island during the Byzantine period, with the imposing church of Panagia Ekatontapiliani (the Virgin Mary of 100 doors).

However, Paros started suffering from the continuous attacks and invasions of the pirates. The bigger destruction, though, was caused by the famous pirate Hayreddin Barbarossa who, despite the courageous resistance of the residents, killed the majority of the population and sent the rest of them as rowers to the Turkish navy and to the Janissary battalions. At this time, the Turks occupied Paros (1560 BC). During the Greek revolution Paros played an important role, while the bay of Naoussa was used as a base of operations for the Russian fleet (the Orlov brothers), during the Russo-Turkish War.

Germans also occupied Paros, forcing the Parians to leave and go to Piraeus or abroad. The island was inhabited again after 1960 and its development was mainly due to tourism and it still is, since Paros is one of the most popular destinations.

The church of Ekatontapiliani in Parikia of Paros

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