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History

The known history of Paros starts from the years of the Neolithic period. This is indicated from the important discoveries from the excavations of the islets Saliagkos and Despotico. It was distinguished as one of the most important centres of the period of the Cycladic culture as the important discoveries scattered in all the islands of the Cycladic archipelago testify, marble figurines, manufactured from the famous marble of Paros, as well as vessels, ceramics and jewellery.

Appreciable settlements of the period of Copper have been located in various points of Paros. The gulf of Naoussa presented an important growth of settlements. The island was known in antiquity with many names (Minois, Minoa, Yrii, and Kavarnis etc.) and was connected with the mythological persons - Minos, Hercules, Radamanthys, and Alkaios- etc. Dionysos, Dimitra, Dioskouroi and Venus were worshipped on the island, while there were temples dedicated to Apollo, Artemis, Zeus, Athina and Eileithya. The period of Minoan sovereignty in the Aegean, it was inhabited by Cretans. However the Arcadians are also reported as its residents, mainly up to later Mycenaean years. Later the Iones settled on the island.

A period of great commercial and economic development for Paros was the period after the 8th Century B.C. The island developed commercial contacts with the Middle Eastern coasts and founded the colony of Thassos (7th Century B.C.) which gave it the possibility of exploiting the layers of gold of the Thracian coasts. A big part of the growth of Paros we owe of course to the layers of marble found here. Famous workshops were created on the island, where an artistic development (6th Century) and cultural growth prevailed. Artists like Agorakritos (5th Century) and Skopas (4th Century) in sculpture and Nikanoras and Arkesilaos in painting, acquired Pan-Hellenic fame. Poetry with the lyric poet Archilochos, blossomed on the7th Century B.C. Blossoming also came in philosophy and mathematics (with more important representative Thymaridas). Interest existed also for the cultural history of the island, as it results from Parian Chronicle. The great growth of the island is also proved by the fact that from 600 B.C. it circulated its own currency.

In the important historical facts of the years that followed is included the failed effort of Miltiadis to occupy the island immediately after the conflict with their Persians in the battle of Marathon and its integration in the A΄ Athenian Alliance, from which it tried also to abstain, without a result. Than followed the integration in the B΄ Athenian Alliance, the subjugation to the Macedonians and later to the Ptolemy, Mithridatis and the Romans, therefore also the growth of the island was ceased. It was used as a place of exile, while in the Byzantine years it fell into obscurity.

From the 4th century A.D. the ecclesiastical life blossoms on Paros, as it results from the residues of Christian basilicas. Then the first church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani was built, that was extended and later reformed by the emperor Justinian.

From the 6th Century came a new period of growth that is owed to the organisation of Byzantine fleet and in the commercial activity between the East and the West.

From the 10th Century, Paros belongs in “the Subject of the Aegean” and it was raided a lot by pirates, who caused extensive destructions.

In 1204 with the fall of Constantinople to the Crusaders, it was included in the Duchy of the Aegean, that Markos Sanoudos founded and devolved to various Venetian families that contributed in a new cultural blossoming, especially in the means of the 15th Century that was combined with the commercial and economic development, supported in the excavation and sale of marble. At that time castles and towers (Castle of Paroikia, Kefalos and Naoussa) relic of which are saved up to today were built on the island.

In the all duration of the Venetian occupation, the island knew repeated pirate raids and the destruction of olive trees from the Venetians led the island to decline.

In 1566 it was granted, along with other islands of the Cyclades in the tradesman Nazis in the sovereignty of who it remained until 1579, when the residents with the residents of the islands Milos, Naxos, Santorini and Syros asked from the Sultan their integration in a preferential arrangement. Thus the life in the island was organised with new institutions, which contributed in its growth, which at a part is owed into that many of the dignitaries of the fleet (dragomanoi) came from the island and mainly from the Mavrogeni family. The hostile raids, by which Paros was often tried, were not absent. The island took part in the “Orlofika”. The safe bay of Naoussa was used as a base of operations by the Russian fleet in order to prevail in the Aegean. Traces of installations are maintained until today.

Paros took active part in the Greek Revolution. One of the heroes of the Revolution, Manto Mavrogenous, came from Paros, the family of which was a beneficiary of the island with donations for work beneficial to the public (f.x. springs, which are saved up to today in the central street of Paroikia etc.). From Paros came also the great teacher Athanassios Parios. Refugees from Psara and Chios found shelter in the island. Refugees from Smyrni settled here after the Asia Minor Destruction. The island was particularly tried in the period of the German occupation. A movement of resistance against the conquerors developed here.

After the end of the 2nd World War, Paros met a period of intense realignments. The resources of the island had been limited and only shipping and fishery remained active sectors. This time was marked big a migratory current initially to Piraeus and later abroad and mainly to America.

After 1960, a new period of growth began for Paros, which is owed mainly in the rise of tourism.
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