Located in the Aegean Sea, Paros offers everything you’d expect from an island in the Cyclades archipelago : whitewashed villages, blue-domed churches, gorgeous sand beaches and cute fishing harbours overlooked by taverna tables. Paros is a small island, approximately 165 km², so our stay of five days meant we had plenty of time to visit all that the island has to offer. And as it was low season when we visited we often visited places where we were the only tourists.
One of the first spots we visited was Lefkes, a beautiful inland mountain village. This small village of only 500 inhabitants is built at an altitude of 300 metres above sea level and offers breathtaking views of nearby Naxos Island. Lefkes used to be the capital of Paros during the Middle Ages and is full of tiny paths that zig zag past small traditional whitewashed houses. There is also a splash of Venetian architecture, wonderful churches dating from the 15th century and whitewashed windmills. At the heart of the village is The Church of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity), a beautiful Byzantine church made of fine white marble. It was nearly midday when we arrived at the church so I found a nice spot in the gardens at the back and recorded the church bells as they rang out.
The following days on Paros were mostly spent relaxing with my family whilst exploring the island’s fantastic beaches and enjoying the delicious Greek food. Towards the end of our stay we headed into the capital of Paros, Parikia. Located in a bay on the north-west side of the island, Parikia is the largest town on the island and the arrival and departure point of daily passenger ferries. Away from the harbour, Parikia has a similar charm to the other villages on the island, with traditional houses built and decorated in the Cycladic style (flat roofs, whitewash walls, blue-painted doors).
Close to Parikia’s main square is the town’s main church, the Panagia Ekatontapiliani, which means “church of the hundred doors”. The name is slightly confusing, as this Byzantine church does not have one hundred doors and various theories exist as to why it was given this name. Amazingly, the church dates to 326 and some of it’s oldest features likely predate the adoption of Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire in 391.
As soon as we stepped through the large front gates and into the gardens of the church we felt immediate isolation from the outside world. It was very calm, with birds singing in the trees and discretely placed speakers quietly broadcast a sermon that was being delivered inside. I decided to record the soundscape from two different perspectives, firstly from within the gardens and then from inside the main chapel.
It was an honour to have visited such a historic church and we thoroughly enjoyed our time on Paros. A beautiful island with so much to offer, very friendly locals and fantastic food.