North of Parikia

On the panoramic summit of a rocky spur, 3.5km by road north of Parikia, are the remains of the sanctuary of Apollo and Artemis, known also just as the ‘Delion’— built on a site which shows evidence of cult since prehistoric times. The eminence has unimpeded views in every direction: west to Siphnos, east to Naxos , and—crucially for cultic reasons—north to Delos . The peribolos of the area is traceable: it is square in outline, with the temple situated in the southwest corner, oriented on an east/ west axis, and with the altar visible to the east. A short distance to the south is a separate structure, which possessed marble benches and a portico, which appears to have been an ancillary building, and could even have been a hestiatorion or feasting room. The temple possesses a deep recess beneath the floor-level of the interior, which probably functioned as the treasury for votive gifts; against the west wall would have stood the cult-statue— the colossal figure of Artemis, whose form has been re assembled from countless fragments, and stands in the portico of the Archaeological Museum. The fragmentariness of the ruins and the small size of the broken pieces lying around suggest that the temple and statue suffered deliberate destruction. The choice of materials is interesting: the construction is partly in granite and partly in differing qualities of local marble. What has survived of the threshold is in very finely cut, purest Parian marble. The masonry would indicate a date in the early 5th century bc. There is an extraordinarily dense scatter of potsherds, with fragments of painted pottery visible in places, and even minute pieces of necklace and bronze still to be seen on the surface.
   If instead of branching for the Delion, you follow the road from Livadia all the way to the west, at 2.5km from Parikia a left turn leads down to Krios, where set back from the shore is a curious building dating probably from the Late Roman or early Christian period. It stands to an impressive height of 6m, is over 20m in length, and is characterised by a hemicycle at its east end which is the width (8.5m) of the whole building. There are no columns, aisles, windows or stone furniture which would suggest it were a place of worship, even though it is oriented precisely on an east/west axis. At about 3m from the ground, a ledge of Parian marble divides the height of the hemicycle: these marble pieces have been identified as seats taken from the 4th century bc bouleuterion of Paros. This use of spolia and the method of construction point to a date in the Late Roman/Early Christian period. The proximity to a protected shore and the large windowless space is similar to the so called tholoi on Kalymnos, Agathonisi and Pharmakonisi in the Dodecanese, which are thought to have functioned as magazines and storage places. The ‘apse’ here may simply be a way of countering the thrust of the hillside into which the building is deeply cut.
   Beyond Krios, the road finishes at the point of the headland at the church of Aghios Phokas (5km). The west side of this barren and rocky promontory is perforated with large caves and grottos; the one furthest south is dubbed the ‘Cave of Archilochus’.

Travel Guide to Paros & Greece

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