Photos: Nikos Zappas, Dimitris Vranas
Parikia can easily deceive you. The noisy area of the port, the crowds and traffic jam, especially in the summer time, and the dazzling white marble paved square do not prepare you for the atmosphere and the picturesque character of the old town. You have to leave the port behind you and cross the square in order to discover the hidden treasures of Parikia.
The rich history of the town is visible everywhere; ancient temples and towers, castle gates and Venetian coats of arms, colorful neoclassical mansions and modest whitewashed houses, thirty-six churches only in town with Ekatontapyliani being the first and most important one, all matching together in perfect harmony in one of the most beautiful towns of the Cyclades.
Thanks to the precious Parian marble, widely used in the monuments of the town and the fine artistic sense of its inhabitants, Parikia gives out a feeling of subtlety and nobleness well hidden in its alleys. The oldest part is surely the Kastro. That’s where the town started, from this stronghold, 5000 years ago, that’s where the Acropolis was with the temple of Athina, that’s where the Venetian, Marco Sanudo built the marble tower. That’s where you will see the most beautiful sunset, different each time. From the steps of Agios Konstantinos or from the neighboring bars if you want to enjoy the sun dive into the sea behind the Cape of Agios Fokas along with a drink and some music.
In front of the Lower Gate of the Kastro and to the left, starts Gravari street with the beautiful mansions and some nice restaurants, bars and shops. All with good taste and style in harmony with the town itself.
Right of the Gate is where the Old Market street starts, which is until today the main shopping street in Parikia.
Among the modern shops and boutiques, the old convenience store of Diplos selling only genuine Parian products which, along with some other shops, stands out as a witness of past times. You can walk along this street to its end or after the third Mavrogenis fountain turn into the alleys and discover neighborhoods and corners of the town’s backstage.
These last years the road connecting Livadia to the Town Hall at the southern end of town, Parikia’s seafront has been blooming; nice restaurants and bars make it very attractive to Parians and visitors.
On the seafront life starts at sunset and goes on until the early morning hours.