Paros Town

First impressions of Paroikía (Paros Town. sometimes spelt Parikia), pretty as it is, may not necessarily be positive. The port flashes too much concrete, too many boats dock, and the traffic problem is seemingly insoluble. The waterfront is lined with travel agencies, a multitude of car and motorbike rental agencies, and fast-food outlets. Then, if you head east on the harbor road, you'll see a lineup of bars, tourist shops, and coffee shops. Past them are the fishing-boat dock, a partially excavated ancient graveyard, and the post office; farther on start the beaches, mostly shaded and over-popular, with their hotels and tavernas.

Yet, go the other way straight into town and you'll find it easy to get lost in the maze of narrow, stone-paved lanes that intersect with the streets of the quiet residential areas. The marble plaza at the town's entrance is full of people strolling and children playing in the evening. Walk along the market street chockablock with tourist shops and you'll begin to traverse the centuries: ahead of you looms the seaside Kastro, the ancient acropolis. In 1207 the Venetians conquered Paros, which joined the Duchy of Naxos, and built their huge marble castle wall out of blocks and columns pillaged from three earlier temples. At the crest, next to the church of Saints Constantine and Helen (built in 1689), are the visible foundations of a late-Archaic temple to Athena—the area remains Paros's favorite sunset spot.

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