Parikia is the capital town and main port of Paros island. This is where ferries to Paros from Athens or other islands arrive. This town is built amphitheatrically on the edge of a large bay and has the typical Cycladic architecture, with small white houses, paved paths and blue-domed churches. At the entrance of the port is a Cycladic windmill, the trademark of Paros island.
The most picturesque quarter of Parikia is Kastro, meaning the Castle. This is the old town of Parikia, built by the Venetians in the 13th century and surrounded by fortifications walls. The interesting thing about these walls is that unfortunately they were constructed using material from ancient temples and sanctuaries. These material are evidently seen even today in the castle walls. Kastro is a nice place to walk around, with many old mansions turned into guesthouses, bars and shops.
Few meters from the port of Parikia is the most important sight on the island, the Byzantine Monastery of Panagia Ekatontapiliani, meaning the church of Virgin Mary with the Hundred Doors. According to the tradition, this monastery was originally founded by Saint Helene, the mother of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine the Great, on her way to the Holy Lands where she found the Holy Cross of Jesus Christ. This monastery has a small museum and gloriously celebrates on August 15th, attracting many pilgrims on the island. Another interesting place to visit in Parikia, Paros Cyclades, is the Archaeological Museum. This museum hosts interesting collections from excavations around the island, dating from the Neolithic until the Roman times.
Many restaurants, cafeterias, bars, shops and mini-markets are found in the town of Parikia, as well as various types of Paros hotels, from traditional studios to luxurious resorts. The central bus station of Parikia serves schedules to almost all villages and beaches around the island, while there are also many taxi stations. From the port of Parikia, excursion boats to Antiparos and other close islands of Cyclades depart.
The Monastery of Panagia Ekatontapyliani (or Ekatontapiliani) in Paros is one of the oldest and most important monasteries in Greece. Located few meters from the port of Parikia, the capital of Paros, this is a well-preserved paleo-Christian monument. Its name Ekatontapyliani means One Hundred Doors. According to the tradition, this monastery has 99 doors and one secret door that...