Paros Island Name
The island of Paros has been inhabited since at least 4000 BC. It was then called Minoa, indicating that its civilization used to be Cretan. It wasn’t until the 1st millennium BC that the island took its actual name, when the Arcadians arrived, led by Parios, who named it after himself.
First Signs of Life
The first evidence of community life on the island was found on Saliagko, the islet between Paros and Antiparos, around 3000 BC. Saliagko’s settlements are amongst the oldest of the Aegean Sea’s islands.
The Classical Period
In the Classical Times, the eminent Parian marble was broadly used for the creation of several masterpieces of Ancient Greek Art, such as the Afroditi of Milos, the Hermes of Praxitelis in Olympia, the Temple of Apollo in Delos and the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio and hence Paros was very prosperous during that period. By the end of the Classical Period, Paros had become a member of the Macedonian Alliance.
The Roman Period
During the Roman Period, Paros, along with a large part of mainland Greece, became part of the Roman Empire. Paros was then considered as a place of exile.
Christianity and Byzantine Period
Christianity came to Paros around 300 AD. During the Byzantine period, Paros was still an important venue, thanks to its famous marbles. However, when in around 900, the Arabs invaded the island, it deserted completely. Paros started repopulating few years later, and in the 13th century, the Island came under Venetian rule.
During the Venetian occupation, Paros was ruled by several Venetian families. Naoussa became a Pirate base and, during that period, the fortresses of Naoussa, Kefalou and Parikia were built.
The island was occupied by the Turks in 1560. During the Turkish occupation the residents of Paros were fortunately allowed more freedom than they used to under other occupations. Many churches and monasteries were built during this time.
The Greek Revolution
During the Greek Revolution of 1821, Paros played a key role. Indeed, Manto Mavrogenous, a female leader of many conflicts that took place during that revolution, was from the Island of Paros. The island was soon freed and reunited with Greece.
The end of World War II found Paros poor and many of the island’s residents had to immigrate to Athens and later abroad, in order to be able to work. The island started to prosper again during the 60’s, when tourism boomed to discover the beauty of Paros.
All of Paros history is written on the remains of its past, its archaeological sites and historic monuments. Byzantine churches and monasteries, built according to the distinctive Cycladic architecture, are vivid statements of Paros ongoing history.
The two most famous Parians are Archilochus, a renowned lyrical poet who lived in the 7th century BC, and Scopas, a sculptor and architect, who created his masterpieces in the first half of the 4th century BC.