Parikia, the island's capital, lies on the west coast and is also its main port. It occupies the same site as the ancient city and its oldest quarter, more or less at the center of the town, is clustered around the hill of Kastro on the Southwest side of the harbor. It is a typical Cycladic town with paved streets, archways (volta), dazzling white two-storey houses interspersed with churches and windmills. A road leads from the harbor to the market place (agora), at the heart of the town, where all manner of wares may be purchased. The castle or Kastro stands on the highest point of the town, Southwest of the harbor. It was build on the site of the ancient acropolis and much of the building material comes from ancient buildings, since column drums and fragments of marble are nowadays visible in the restored sector of the castle. Excavations conducted here have brought to light the ruins of an Archaic temple of Demeter (adjacent to the present church of St. Constantine). There are very few extant remains of the Venetian castle on the east and Southeast flank (parts of the wall and a tower).
10km Northeast of Parikia is the gulf of Naoussa, the largest on the island. On the way to Naoussa, about 1 km. outside Parikia, in the locality know as Treis Ekklesies, there are vestiges of an Early Christian basilica and three Byzantine churches, further on is the Longovardas monastery (6km. from Parikia), founded in 1683, which has a significant library and icon-painting atelier. Naoussa, with its pristine white houses , Post Byzantine churches (St. Athanasios, St. John the Theologian, the Saviour etc.), its monastery (St. George) and the little harbor with the Venetian castle is one of the most beautiful parts of Paros. From here you can visit the villages on the east and south side of the island (there is another road from Parikia to these villages) Marmara, Marpissa, with its ruined Venetian castle on top of Kefalos hill and the monastery of St. Anthony, Piso Livadi and Drios, Kostos and Lefkes, with its 17th century church of the Holy Trinity.
A short way beyond Lefkes is the convent of Thapsana with its miraculous icon of the Virgin Myrtidiotissa. In the locality of Marathi (4km. from Parikia) there is an ancient marble quarry. 6km from Parikia is the region of Psychopiana with its verdant vegetation, running water and myriads of butterflies. Not far of is the nunnery of Christ of the Wood (tou Dasous), repository of the shroud of St. Arsenios.
This is a convenient place for visiting villages on the south side of the island Alyki, Angeria, where the airport is located, or to proceed to Punda from where boats leave for Antiparos. Paros has a large number of beaches, ideal for swimming, fishing and sea sports. At Parikia: Livadia, Krios, Aghios Phokas, at Naoussa (west side) Mikro and Megalo Piperi, Limnes, Kolimbithres with its spectacular rock formations, reminiscent of sculptures and Aghios Ioannis, on the east side: Aghioi Anargyroi, Xifara, Langeri, Santa Maria, Ambelas. All are easily accessible on foot or by bus and car, as well as by small boat which make regular trips, leaving from Parikia for Krios and Livadia, and from Naoussa for Kolimbithres, Langeri, Santa Maria, Aghios Ioannis. There are stretches of sand at Logaras, Piso Livadi, Drios and Aliki. Those with a boat may investigate other beaches, as well as the offshore islets. Refuelling stations at Parikia, Naoussa, Prodromos, Drios and Aliki. Paros has numerous hotels, pensions, furnished apartments and rooms available for a pleasant stay.
Archaeological Museum/ Archaeological Sites
'Paros- the third larger island in the Cyclades-was populated in the 5th millenium BC, whereas the earliest permanent settlements date to the 3rd millennium BC. In the Mycenaean period (1200-1000 BC) a fortfied citadel flourished at Koukounaries, near Naoussa. During the archaic period (7th-6th cent. B.C) the island enjoyed considerable economic prosperity. The main source of wealth were the quarries in Marathi, where the famous Parian marble - “lychnitis”- was quarried. It was sought after for the construction of temples in major sanctuaries of Greece and stimulated the development of a unique school of sculpture. Exceptional Parian sculptures are exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of the island and at museums abroad. Aristion, Agorakritos and Skopas were among the greatest Parian sculptors. Also, the well-known lyric poet Archilochos lived in Paros in the 7th cent. B.C.
The ancient city of Paros was situated under the modern town of Parikia and was one of the most glorious Greek cities. It was protected by walls, which enclosed public buildings, sanctuaries, houses and workshops. The core of the city was on the hill of Kastro, where there was atemple dedicated to godess Athina. The ancient houses – decorated with mosaic floors- are located behind the Archaeological Museum, and a short distance away there is a sculpture workshop.
The main cemetery of the ancient city, which operated from the Geometric to the Roman times, has been excavated near the modern port. Findings include graves of various types, two “polyandria” ( group of burials of soldiers) of the 8th cent. BC and Roman marble sarcophagi. At another cemetery nearby Archaeological Museum a circular burial monument, sarcophagi and other funerary monuments have been found. In the same area there is an open-air sanctuary identified with the Thesmoforian, the sanctuary of Dimitra, where exceptional archaic and classical statues have been discovered. The sanctuaries of ApolloPythios and Asclepios are located in Agia Anna. The sanctuary of Delian Apollo and Artemis are situated on a hilltop with views of Delos Island, while on the small island of Despotiko, which is located west of Paros we find another large Parian sanctuary dedicated to Apollo. In Krios, opposite the port of Parikia, there are ruins of an apsidal building.
On the way to Naoussa, at the site Treis Ekklisies, there are the ruins of an early Christian basilica (6th -7th cent. AD); the heroon of the poet Archilochos also stood there in ancient times. In Paleopyrgos, near the village Ampelas, is a circular Hellenistic tower of the castle of marble tholos of the 4th cent. BC dedicated to Hestia was incorporated.
The Byzantine church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani in Parikia is one of the most important Byzantine monuments in Greece. It was founded in the 4th century AD over an ancient gymnasium, and more than 2500 ancient members have been used for its building. Other important Byzantine monuments on the island are the castle of Naoussa and the castle of Kefalos, on the hill of Agios Antonios. Recent history and tradition of the island are the castle of the island are represented by the post- Byzantine monasteries, the numerous churches, the Frankish monastery, the drinking fountains of Mavrogenis family in Parikia, the tower of Alisafa in Petaloudes and the medieval and neoclassical houses in Parikia, Marpissa and Lefkes.'
'The Mycenaeans, the Ionians, the Aeolians, the Venetians, the Byzantines and the Ottomans have all left their mark and the signs of tehir culture on the island, creating an “embroidery” of different cultures. The wealth of monuments in paros will convince you that the island has not only present and a future, but also a past worth discovering.'
Mayor of Paros