PAROS



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Paros - Naousa and the North of the Island - Naousa

Naousa

Naousa is a beautiful series of contiguous harbours, backed by a small and attractive Late Mediaeval town. It is given unusual character by a stream of fresh water—the Elytas stream of Antiquity, according to some authorities—which comes from near Matzoro in the hills to the south and runs down a channel in one of the streets of the town into the sea. Naousa has grown considerably in recent years owing to its understandable popularity as a tourist destination. Although the wider area of the Bay of Naousa is dotted with prehistoric and Geometric settlements and Hellenistic installations, the town itself does not appear to have a significant ancient precursor even though antique spolia are seen all around the historic centre. The moles of the central harbour were first constructed in the early 16th century, when a small Venetian fortress, in the form of a tower, was built to mark their outer extremity. This now constitutes the heart of the existing castle, which appears to have been enlarged in the next century by the addition of a circular structure all around, perforated with artillery embrasures just above the water level. It is similar in concept and date to the Venetian fort at Avlemonas on Kythera. During the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–74 the Bay of Naousa was the Aegean base for the Russian Navy. Today the intimate inner harbour and the delightful buildings which encircle it are home to a colourful fleet of fishing caiques.
   Woven into the tight Cycladic fabric of the old town are several 17th and 18th century churches. The most interesting of these is the church of Aghios Ioannis Theologos (1629) in the centre of the original settlement. A small narthex gives onto a wide, domed interior, without any lateral arms, which was once entirely covered with idiosyncratic wall-paintings. The murals are signed as the work of ‘the Sakellarios [Giorgios] Mostratos’ and dated 1784: a ‘sakellarios’ is an ecclesiastical treasurer or sacellarius. The north wall is dominated by a Last Judgement, precisely drawn and meticulously compartmentalised into pictorial vignettes. In the apse is the customary ‘cosmic hierarchy’ in which the Word descends from the Almighty, passes through Christ, and down to a painted ciborium behind the real altar, with painted bible and chalice in position. This is not great painting, but the overall effect, presided over by a fine Pantocrator in the dome, is not unpleasing. A particularly beautiful 17th century icon of St John the Theologian with Prochorus, to the right of the doors of the templon, is worthy of note. Many of the churches of the town display typical, open-latticework belfries in local marble. Beside the church of the Ypapanti (the Purification of the Virgin), uphill a short way to the southeast, rises an abundant spring of slightly brackish water, which also flows through the streets.
   Across the fresh-watercourse, on the west side, is the former monastery of Aghios Athanasios which is now a small Museum of Byzantine Art (open daily 9–3 except Mon, Easter–mid-Oct), worth visiting alone for the small series of salvaged wall-paintings * which have been brought here from the rural church of Protoria, near Naousa. They are the oldest surviving Byzantine paintings on the island, and their intensity and simplicity, combined with their decorative vocabulary suggest a date in the 12th or 13th century. One of the fragments depicts the donor praying. The collection also displays icons of the 17th and 18th centuries, including works by the local Mostratos brothers.


Travel Guide to Paros & Greece

access

Paros Island, the Cyclades.
By air: Olympic Air operates two 35-minute flights between Athens and Paros daily. The airport is 10.5km from Parikiá.
By boat: There are generally two daily car-ferry connections (4hrs 30mins) to Paros from Piraeus (most regularly with Blue Star Ferries) in the summer, with frequency drop ping in the winter. This is augmented in the summer months (late June– late Sept), by up to four high-speed services daily (minimum 3hrs journey), divided equally between the ports of Piraeus and Rafina for Athens. These services provide an average of three onward connections daily to Naxos , Ios and Santorini.
Paros Travel Guide

eating

Paros Island, the Cyclades.
Paros, -Levantis, on Agora Street in Parikiá, is one of the best places to eat in the Cyclades, for food that is refined and yet still Greek: the setting is simple and unpretentious, the cuisine sophisticated and delicious, and the service attentive and pleasant. More expensive and with a refined menu which offers nonetheless some excellent dishes, is Daphne in Gravari Street. Amongst the myriad eateries around the three harbours of Náousa, the easternmost taverna on the north shore, Glafkos, has excellent seafood and welcoming service. Le Sud is also good for more var ied and sophisticated cuisine. In Léfkes, "I Pezoula tis Lichoudias", is tiny, and undoubtedly a little artificial, but some of the home-made Greek dishes are nonetheless traditional and of local inspiration.
Paros Travel Guide

further reading

Paros Island, the Cyclades.
Thomas Hope’s Anastasius, or Memoirs of a Greek, first published in 1819, is partly based on Nicholas Mavrogenis (see p. 34–35) of Paros and his world and times. The book caused a sensation when it was first published in London; Byron privately admitted that he wished he had been its author. A paperback edition was reissued in 2001, by Elibron Classics. Paros: History, Monuments etc. by Yannos Kourayos (Athens 2004) is an exemplary guide to the island’s antiquities—clear, authoritative and to the point. For the remarkable figure of the Marquis de Nointel and his Christmas mass in the Cave of Antiparos, see: Henri Omont, Relation de la visite du Marquis de Nointel à la grotte d’Antiparos (1673), Bulletin de géographie historique et descriptive, 1892 (4), pp. 4–33, and Albert Vandal, L’Odyssée d’un ambassadeur. Les voyages du Marquis deNointel (1670–1680), Paris, 1900. Theodore Bent, The Cyclades, or Life among the Insular Greeks (1885), reis sued 2002 by Archaeopress, Oxford in the ‘3rd Guides’ series, contains his descriptions of making the earliest excavations of prehistoric Cycladic remains on Antiparos.

Paros Travel Guide

lodging

Paros Island, the Cyclades.
Paros has no shortage of smart places to say: but for simplicity and unpretentious comfort, the following can be recommended. The intimate, family-run Hotel Dina in the heart of Parikiá, could not be more central, and is inexpensive, comfortable and quiet (T. 22840 21325, fax 23525, www.hoteldina.com). On the edge of Náousa, Yades Studios provide tasteful accommodation with help ful management (T./fax 22840 51072, www.yades. gr). Beautifully appointed, and with full facilities, is the excellent Hotel Petres (T. 22840 52467, fax 52759, www.petres.gr; open Easter– mid-Oct). The hotel is set back in the hinterland to the south of Náousa, but with beautiful views north over Plastiras Bay.
Paros Travel Guide

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