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Island of Paros
 
     
In prehistoric times Paros was united with nearby Andiparos, but nowadays the two islands are connected by ships departing from Pounta. Andiparos is a picturesque island, with beautiful beaches, many ciders, solitary shitewashed chapels, a charming little harbour, a Venetian castle in ruins and with warm, crystal-clearwater all around its coastline. However, what makes Andiparos unique is its famous cave on Agh. Ioannis hill. An impressively large stalagmite welcomes visitors at the cave's entrance, while dimensions within the cave are equally impressive: 90m of depth, 40m of width and up to 40m of height. In the cave's chambers, beautifully decorated by stalactites, the island's entire history has been carved on stone, from Alexander the great's would-have-been assassins who tried to hide there, down to King Otto of Greece and the foreign visitors of the country. In 1673 the French Marquis de Dointelle descended into the cave, using ropes and torches, on Christmas Eve, and performed the the Christmas Service on a stalagmite that served as an Altar.
 
     
 
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  Excavations on Paros have brought to light some quite important findings, which clearly show the island's significance in ancient Cyclades. The neolithic settlement at Saliango, the early Cycladic settlement at Parikia, the Mycenean acropolis near Naoussa, the temple of Athena, the Delion (temple of Apollo and Artemis), the temple of Asclepius, the ancient workshops, the cemetary, the House of Parliament, the archaelogical sites at Ekatontapyliani, are some of the monuments showing visitors around to the splendid civilisation that once flourished on the island. In Paros' important Archaelogical Museum, one can enjoy quite a few archaelogical findings, and some unique masterpieces of Parian sculpture, such as the statue of Gorgon, that of Demeter from Delion, torsos from archaic Kouroi and Korai, wonderful tomb reliefs, and many statuettes and ceramics.  
     
 
 
 
Map of Cyclades Islands
Map of Paros
 
     
  Paros, albeit a most popular holiday resort, has managed to maintain its traditional physiognomy by means of all customs, everyday habits, and popylar art. At the religious festivals of the island - the most important being the religious fair of Panayia (=Virgin Mary) in August - parian people dance a circular dance called Agheranos, a local dance evoking almost all local traditions, from the coming of Theseus to the island (which is why the steps remind of labyrinth) to the flying of gheranos (=crane) when a falcon attacks the flock. The ancient art of sculpture is still popular today and the visitor can see many bas relief in houses and churches in Parikia and the marble fountains of Mavrogenis. From the ancient times the people of Paros loved viticulture; nowadays the traditional grape varieties of the island, the white "monemvasitika (=malvasia) and the red "mantilaria", continue to give us the unique parian wine.  
     
 
 
 
 
     
  Paros' most attractive beaches are to be found at its northern and eastern parts. At the Plastira bay, near Naoussa, the famous Kolimbithres are situated, i.e. little sandy beaches ornate with smooth rocks in impressive shapes. Second to Naoussa are the beaches of Aghii Anargiri, Xifaras, Langeri nad the exotic beaches at Santa Maria and at Aliki, hidden amongst thickly grown ciders. Around Marpissa there are some cosmopolitan beaches, such as Logaras, Pounta, Tsardakia, and famous Xrisi Ammos (=Golden Sand), a popular wind-surfers' location. For some beautiful beaches at Paros' southern part, one should visit Glifa, Lolandonis and Faranga, while around Parikia there are beaches like Delfini, Parasporos, Livadia, Krios, and the smaller beaches of Kamini, Martselo and Aghios Fokas.  
   
   
   
   
   
 
   
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