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The best way to discover and admire the architecture of Paros is to walk among its narrow little streets, letting them choose your direction, exploring the shapes, shadows and colors of the lovely little villages. Enjoy the virtual walk, and hope that soon you will feel obliged to visit this gorgeous island!
In the traditional Cycladic architecture, functionality, protection, simplicity and aesthetics are mixed, forming a particularly interesting and beautiful picture.
Architecture in Paros is the typical, traditional Cycladic architecture but the diversity of elements coming from different civilizations adds a special touch.
This diversity is due to the fact that all the conquerors who ruled the island left an architectural trace behind as in the town of Naoussa where the Venetian port create a contrast with the traditional Cycladic architecture or in Parikia, where old two storey Venetian houses (for example the building of the former Collage of Arts) show definite Italian influence.
The buildings on the island are mainly whitewashed cubic houses with flat roofs and colored, wooden windows, doors, balconies and pergolas. The houses are built amphitheatrically, one on the top of each other. The streets are stone paved and decorated with white lines, emphasizing the natural curves of the stones.The white lines are painted on clean monday , 40 days before easter as the houses used to be also done , but it used to be white washed.
The narrow, labyrinth-like streets and steps are snaking around the houses and tiny white chapels, leading to the top of the villages where usually a blue domed church stands. White windmills and blue domed churces are typical of Cyclades. (Except for Mykonos where most of the chapels and churces are red domed)
The most famous church on Paros is Ekatontapiliani (Church of 100 doors) in Parikia. Legend has it that only 99 can be found and the 100th gate will only be found when Istambul (Constantinople) becomes Greek again. (If you would like to read more about the church there is a fantastic web page http://www.ekatontapyliani.org)
The cycladic architecture can be explained by several reasons: the small number of secure and easy to build on places, protection from the hard weather conditions (heavy wind in winter and solar heat in summer), a shelter from the many pirates of the area, and also scarcity of construction material.
Balconies, terraces with pergolas are part of the living space since they can be used all year round. Entering the main door of the house you get to the atrium, an outside space surrounded by high walls on each side. The atrium is a classical element of the traditional cycladic house.The outside and inside traditionally used white color protects from the heat, cooling the interior of the houses. Arches are decorating most of the newly built and old houses, they are made the same manner like centuries ago.
The local Paros marble that is used for construction from ancient times is well known worldwide and commonly used in construction for various reasons: steps, windowsills, garden walls, flooring, wells, etc.To note Paros has two type of marble, the famous white marble used for example to build the tomb of Napoleon but the most comon found on Paros is the grey marble.
Paros in ancient times was covered by dense forests but unfortunately it all disappeared for now leaving spiky, bushy vegetation behind.To note the trees did not disappear, Paros was burned down 3 times during the older confics Greece had to go through. Only the village of Lefkes was protected since in the old times it was the capital of Paros and well protected. The climate is excellent for a lush Mediterranean garden (although you have to irrigate) and a lots of the Parian people are very committed to plant more trees and establish nice gardens on the island.