Evaluation: When visiting the island of Páros you should of course devote enough time to an exploration of the old town of Parikiá. The church of Katapolianí is very peaceful and in the old town it is particularly interesting that everywhere you go you come across remains of the ancient city of Páros. This hike gets an evaluation of ***.

Estimated time: A few hours are sufficient to explore Parikiá.

Route description through the town of Parikiá: Parikiá is a rather small town, with about 3000 inhabitants, but as a result of the busy harbour, which is the central point of many boat lines, and because of thousands of tourists, Parikiá assumes the air of a big city. The historical centre, though, is rather small.

When arriving in the harbour of Parikiá you have a great view on the entire city, with on the left, emerging from the green trees, the dome of the famous church of Ekatondapylianí.

View on Parikiá, when arriving in the harbour.

At the end of the landing stage for the boats, the arriving visitor is welcomed by the typical windmill, guarding the harbour.

The windmill on the busy crossing next to the harbour.

From the windmill you walk to the left (when standing with your back to the sea), in the direction of the small church with the blue dome, dedicated to Agios Nikólaos.

The little church of Agios Nikólaos.

Before the church of Agios Nikólaos you keep to the right and in this way you cross a large, more or less triangular square, in the direction of the long façade of the most important monument of Parikiá, the church of Ekatondapylianí; together with two churches in Thessaloníki this is one of the three important paleochristian churches in Greece.
According to the legend this church was founded by Helena, the mother of emperor Constantine the Great (4th century AD), and extended under emperor Iustinian (6th century AD), by a student of the master builder of the Agia Sofía. The name "Ekatondapylianí" or "with the 100 doors" appears for the first time in the year 1606 and it would refer to the legend that the church counts 99 doors and that, after finding the 100th door, the city of Constantinopel will be recaptured...
The other name "Katapolianí" is more popular and also older – this name appears for the first time in the year 1562 and it means "under the city", referring to the fact that this church was built next to the ancient city of Páros.

The façade of the church of Katapolianí.

From the beautiful court yard you have a great view on the façade of the narthex, the entrance hall of the church. 

The façade of the actual church.

The floor plan of the actual church, dedicated to the "Kímisis tis Theotókou" (Mary of the Ascension), is that of a Byzantine cross. Inside you can find a beautiful icon of Mary; according to the legend this icon was made by Luke the evangelist. 

The icon of the Holy Virgin.

Next to the church there is a marvellous baptistery, going back to the 4th century. Remarkable is the marble baptismal font, in the shape of a cross.  

The beautiful baptistery.

After your visit to the Katapolianí you go left to the Archaeological Museum (signpost). In this museum you can admire beautiful treasures from Páros and Antíparos, such as the "Marmor Parium" or the "Chronicle of Páros", a large inscription describing 1318 years of Greek history, from the first king of Attica (in 1582 BC). A part of this monument is to be found in a museum in Oxford.

After this visit you turn back and on the opposite side you follow the pleasant shopping street Odós Mantoos Mavrogénous. Past the little bridge - with a really nice outdoor terrace – you find the beginning of the Odós Lochágou Grávari towards the right. At the end of this street you take a left, into the Odós Ant. Lochágou. You continue, more or less straight ahead all the time (Gravári) and then to the right (Patéli), until you arrive at the water side.

Walking through the streets of Parikiá.

A remarkable reuse of an old piece of a pillar...

You then pass a couple of nice town houses and a marvellous fountain from the 18th century. 

A marble fountain in the Odós Lochágou Grávari.

Slightly further you pass the church of the Panagía Septemvrianí with a bust of Mary from the year 1592. After taking a left, into the agorá or market street (Odós Ant. Lochágou), you notice the wonderful Náos Taxiárchoon or the church of the Taxiárches (Archangels). In this way you actually walk underneath the kástro.

Via a small street on the right you can climb to the kástro. You can also continue to the water side, where you take a right until you see the access road to the kástro (signpost "Frankish castle") on the right. You thus get to the ancient city, with above the kástro the truly beautiful little church of Agios Konstantínos, with a very nice ikonostási as well.

The little church of Agios Konstantínos on the kástro.

Panoramic view on the old city, from the sea.

When walking across the height of the kástro, you notice some remains of the old temple walls. The most impressive remnant is definitely the marvellous old wall of the "Frankish Castle": the castle dates from the 13th century and it was constructed, amongst others, with remains of the temple of Demeter.

Remains of the old wall of the temple...

The "Frankish Castle".

From the kástro you can stroll back by following more or less the same way, but you can also descend to the water side again and then walk a little more to the left, until you reach the small marina, at the foot of the rocks with two windmills on top. 

The little marina of Parikiá.

Thereafter you can walk back along the water – possibly by admiring a sun set, until you get to the windmill again, your point of departure.

A sun set in Parikiá.



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