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Paros (/ˈpɛərɒs/; Greek: Πάρος; Venetian: Paro), one of the largest of the Cyclades cluster, is known for its whitewashed houses, bright sun and breathtaking beaches. The island lies to the west of Naxos, from which it is separated by a channel about 8 kilometers wide and 161 kilometers south-east of Piraeus.
All through history, Paros was celebrated for its fine white marble, which in turn gave birth to the term "Parian" to describe marble or china of similar qualities. However, nowadays Paros primarily thrives off of tourism, even though abandoned marble quarries and mines can be discovered on the island. According to mythology, the first colonist was Cretan Alcaios, who established the first city in the location where Parikia stands today. Back then, it is said that Cretans made use of the island, which was then referred to as Minoa, as a naval station due to its prime position in the center of Cyclades and its two safe harbors.
One of the most beloved landmarks of the island, The Monastery of Panagia Ekatontapiliani is located few meters from the port of Parikia, the capital of Paros and is believed to be one of the best-preserved Paleo-Christian monuments in Greece. As legend tells us, the original place of worship was established by Saint Constantine, first Emperor of Constantinople, as per his mother’s request. Saint Helene was brought to the island on her journey to the Holy land in search for the Holy Cross and made a vow to the Virgin to raise a church if her quest proved to be successful .
A trip to the island of Paros is without a doubt incomplete without a stop to the majestic Frankish Castle, one of the most enduring monuments on the island. The landmark was constructed in the 1200s by the Venetian Sanoudos from the vestiges of an assortment of ancient sanctuaries that were scattered in and around the island of Paros, as per many scholars beliefs. An extended tower, which stands out from the castle’s structure, integrates all the elements of a 4th century globular edifice and perfectly blends into the charm of the castle’s splendid architecture.
While some beaches in the island of Paros are organized and lined up with seaside hotels, restaurants and beach bars, and others are totally secluded, they all provide the relaxing atmosphere that tourists crave year round. The beach of Kolimbithres, nested in the huge bay of Naoussa, or Plastira Bay is one of the most celebrated beaches of Paros, due to the huge blocks of granite boarding it, meticulously sculpted into strange smooth shapes by the sea and the wind over the centuries. Parasporos, another well known beach, can become quite crowded, at times. Located south of Parikia, the capital of Paros, next to a campsite, it attracts tourists with its emerald waters, golden sand and lively entertainment after sunset. Golden Beach is home to an international windsurfing competition every summer and allures turists with crystal water, soft sand and excellent wind conditions.
The island includes a palette of fantastic beaches, such as Pounda, Krios or Logaras and houses scuba diving centers, windsurfing, kitesurfing as well as other watersports, for a never-to-be-forgotten holiday.
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