The South and Southwest of the Island

The south of the island was widely populated in the 3rd and 2nd millennia bc, as the Early Cycladic cemeteries (at Galana Krimna, Avysos and Dryos) and the settlement of the same period discovered at Aghios Myron, between Alyki and Farangas Bay, attest. In later historic times, however, this part of the island was less developed than the north and west, although the presence of several long, straight channels cut in the shelf of rock by the shore at Dryos (22km), which served to dry-dock or beach barges and boats, suggests that there must have been significant commerce in the immediate area. In the vicinity of Aspro Chorio, just north of Glypha (24km), there was a sanctuary of Artemis: the magnificent seated, Archaic goddess, now in the Archaeological Museum, was found near here in 1885, as well as a separate inscribed statue-base naming ‘Artemis’. There are ancient spolia (which may come from the same sanctuary) in the nearby monastery of Aghios Ioannis Spiliotis (26km), built into the entrance of a cave, north of Trypiti­.
   The southeast and south coasts, with their succession of sandy beaches, remain an area of primarily recreation al appeal, centred on the attractive fishing harbour and sandy bay of Aliki­ (11km from Parikia by direct route). On the return north to Parikia from here, however, are a couple of curiosities: just east of the airfield, is the idi osyncratic ‘Skorpios Folklore Museum’. Venetos Skiadas is an artesan who specialises in creating models of every thing Cycladic, from Tiniot dovecotes, via ancient towers and theatres, to the boats both of recent times and of antiquity. The other point of interest is the ‘Valley of Butter flies’ or Petaloudes (5.5km), above the village of Psycho piana, where an abundant spring feeds dense groves of pomegranate, olive, cypress, fig, rose, prunus and citrus trees. This area was part of the estate of the Mavrogenis family whose fine, stone mansion with coloured intonaco is visible in the valley. Prominent on the hillside to the south is the ruined mediaeval tower of Alisafas. Outside of the month of June, the valley has an abandoned air; but the butterflies—which are in fact Jersey tiger moths—return each year in dwindling numbers to mate in this well watered ravine. They are the same species as those which congregate in the Petaloudes valley on Rhodes . There is a small admission charge to enter the meandering walks through the area.
   One kilometre north of Petaloudes is the nunnery of Christos tou Dasous (‘of the forest’) (4.5km), dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ (open to women only, 10–1). The monastery, which is sometimes referred to as Aghios Arsenios, originally belonged to the Mavrogenis family. It has now become a place of pilgrimage because it contains the tomb of St Arsenios, a patron saint of the island. Arsenios, who was born in Ioannina in 1800, re turned late in his life to Paros, where he had spent much of his youth, and became the deacon of the nun’s convent here. He died in 1877, and was proclaimed a saint in 1967.

Travel Guide to Paros & Greece

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