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Paros

Lying in the centre of the Cyclades island group, Paros is one of the most popular tourist islands in Greece . Paros has many sandy beaches, a fertile landscape and charming villages where one can explore or relax. Paros was famous for its marble used on Napoleons tomb, and from which the famous statue of Venus de Milo was carved.

Parikia standing on the site of a former city the towns was the centre of the marble trade on the island. Earthquakes have destroyed many of the earlier Ventian and roman buildings in the town. Modern day Parikia is a thriving resort with its waterfront packed with ticket offices for the many ferry’s that call on the island. There also a number cafes and bars to in which you can sit and watch the life on the waterfront. The streets behind the harbour are typical Greek with small lanes and houses covered in flowers.

Panagia Ekatontapyliani (church of a hundred doors) is one of the most impressive in the Cyclades , and one of the oldest still in use in Greece . The church consists of three churches, and together there are 99 doors in the building, when the 100th door is found, the city of Constantinople ( Istanbul ) will be reunited with Greece . Inside the church, there is a footprint set in stone, said to be that of the islands patron saint, Agia Theoktisti. Greeks place their feet in the footprint believing it will bring them good fortune.

Archaeological Museum is behind the church and among its many display is the part of priceless Parian Chronicle, carved on marble, recording the artistic achievements of ancient Greece up to 264 BC. Sadly, to say most of the chronicle ended up in the Ashmolean museum in Oxford , England . Some of the other displays are plaster cast copies, as the originals are in museums around the world.

Kastro the remains of this fortress built in 1260 AD lies at the top of the main street of the town. Near by is the 300-year-old church of Agia Elani and Agios Konstantinos with its blue dome.

Naoussa situated on the north coast of Paros , is a delightful resort. Though very popular, it has not lost some of its charm when it was a sleepy fishing village. There are some good restaurants where the food is excellent and some good shops. The two museums in the village are worth visiting. The best beaches are at Monastri and Kolimvythres. The ruins of a Ventian castle are slowly sinking into the sea forming a breakwater. On 23rd of August every year, fishing boats lit by torches re-enact the battle that took place in 1536 between the islanders and the pirate Barbarossa, this festival is concluded with music and partying.

Lefkes this charming hillside village and former capital of the island, has retained its charm with small shady squares lined with cafes, shops and restaurants overlooking the valley below. The shops in the village sell a wide range of local weaving and ceramics. Along the hillside are old windmills. The church of Agias Trias is splendid and dominates the village. Nearby are the abandoned marble quarries, from here came the marble for Napoleons Tomb. In the area are small hamlets worth visiting, Prodromos, Marmara and Marpissa.

Petaloudes or the Valley of the Butterflies is a short distance from the capital, and during the months of May to August, huge swarms of Jersey tiger moths settle on the foliage. Nearby is the 18th century convent of Moni Christou tou Dasos, though only women can enter the sanctuary it is a nice walk.

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