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ANTIPAROS

Welcome to Antiparos

Antiparos is a beautiful, bright island full of colorful patches, right in the middle of the Aegean Sea. A place with a great history! Monuments and symbols reveal a unique culture. The creators of the Cycladic civilization lived here.

In the middle of the island, upon a hill, you will find one of the greatest and oldest cave of the world. Well preserved, it offers its visitors many surprises.

The island of Antiparos is becoming well known between 17th and 19th century, when foreign travelers visit it and then publish their impressions and sketches of the cave and the rest archaeological sites.

Today thousands of tourists visit the island, not only to admire the historical monuments but also to become part of the islands natural beauties. Breathtaking views, amazing sandy beaches, picturesque paths, traditional Greek delicacies, joyful bars & discos, warmth and hospitality ... parts of Antiparos ... parts of an unforgettable journey.

Antiparos is also easy to access. It will take you only 30 min. by boat from Parikia (Paros' main port) or 6 min. if you take the small ferry from Pounda.

THE CAVE

A cave with stalagmites and stalactites can't help being a natural wonder, and a sight to see. It is known that throughout history, people used it as a refuge until they started building houses, and later on as a place of worship. If finds dating back to the Stone Age had been discovered there, it also would have had some archaeological interest.

Antiparos' cave has a uniqueness, not only because of it's enchanting stalagmites, which took thousands of years to form from water eroding the limestone, but also because of its strong connection with the history of the island.

Ancient pots were discovered in the cave as well as a dedication to the goddess Diana. According to an inscription, one of the cave's first visitors was Archilochos the Parian who was a great lyrical poet.

The names of Macedonian generals can also still be seen. They conspired against Alexander the Great and found refuge in the Cave of Antiparos in order to hide themselves to save their lives.

Marquis Nuantel's passage to the cave on Christmas Eve in 1673 is still irrefutable. Nuantel was the ambassador of France in Constantinople and found himself on Paros.

The priest of his group performed his duties on Christmas Day and used a stalagmite during the ceremony. Since then, that stalagmite has been called 'The Altar'. A Latin inscription on it proves this to be fact. It seemed that leaving a mark was tradition, as all those who visited the cave left an inscription, from Marquis de Sabeur in 1775, to Otto, the first king of Greece in 1840.

Sadly, during the war, the German's destroyed part of the cave and broke some of the stalactites, but fortunately this detract, in any way from the cave's beauty. You can visit the cave by car or with the municipal bus.

Coming out of the cave, St. Ioannis Spiliotis waits for you. Capers grow among the rocks and the branches hang loosely. My God! Why do we keep calling stone and inanimate object? It fruits such beauty.

DESPOTIKO

To the west of Antiparos lie three uninhabited islets that are of great archaeological interest - Despotiko, Tsimintiri (which lies between Antiparos and Despotiko) and Strongylo, which is located to the west of Despotiko. Despotiko is identified with ancient Prespinthus, according to Strabo and Plinius. The first excavations were carried out in the 19th century by Christos Tsountas, who discovered Early Cycladic cemeteries. In 1959, N. Zafeiropoulos headed digs in the areas of Zoumbaria and Mantra, on the northeast coast of the island, which yielded the discovery of architectural components of a Doric temple dating to the archaic period, estimated to have been built circa 500 BC.

Archaeological excavations have been underway in the area of Mantra since 1997, under the supervision of Yiannis Kourayios, an archaeologist with the state archaeological service. These have brought to light a great part of the auxiliary areas of a sanctuary. Specifically, an oblong building complex has been discovered, constructed in a north-south direction and consisting of five adjacent, continuous parallel rooms. The western wall of the building has been excavated to a length of 35 metres and the maximum height that has survived is 1.7 metres.

The three rooms on the northern side are a self-contained building unit, thanks to the large Doric-order portico found along their length, with an 18-metre-long support that bears the mountings of Doric columns. The two rooms on the south side are constructed at a lower level. They are square, of about the same size (approximately 8 metres by 8 metres), have entrances on the side facing west and a type of indoor forehouse or hall that measures some 17 metres and looks east. The entrance to this forehouse was located in the centre, between the two entrances to the rooms.

The facades of the building are in exceptional condition, with two rows of marble structures found in an assembly divided up equally, atop guides that were made using large slabs of slate.

The gradual removal of the modern yard wall and its dismantlement has revealed 520 new architectural components, column drums, column capitals, triglyphs, sections of entablatures and other items

To the southeast, a plethora of subsequent buildings has been discovered, that were built using architectural parts of the Doric temple. The discovery of these later buildings corroborates the belief that the area was used in the Middle Ages. A 60-metre extension of the south wall of the ancient complex has also been unearthed at greater depths below the medieval buildings. This wall formed a kind of L-shaped enclosure.

Extremely significant mobile findings were also unearthed under the floor of the southern room of ancient Building A, made from various materials from ancient times and originating from east Ionia, Rhodes, Cyprus and Egypt.

It is probable that these findings, which chronologically cover almost the entire spectrum of the ancient period, were placed under the slabs of the new floor of the room during the renovation of the temple during a second phase in antiquity. Among the items that came to light were Early Corinthian and Corinthian arybals (a type of leather or cloth oil bag), alabasters, cotyles (a type of double-handled cup), round-shaped arybals, clay figurines, various objects and statuettes made of faience, signet rings made from semi-precious stones, bronze and ivory figure 8-shaped brooches, an ostrich egg, stone, glass and gold beads, and iron, bronze, silver and lead objects, such as daggers, swords and many agricultural tools. Also worth noting are the arybals shaped like animals - such as roosters and hares - one in the shape of genitals and a rare rhyton (ceremonial drinking cup) in the shape of a lion's head. Another unique finding is the large-size figurine of a female deity created in the Labyrinthine style, which dates to 680-660 BC.

The area where the excavations are taking part has yielded many marble parts of sculptures, two archaic kouros heads, the torso of a nude male sculpture and a section of an inscribed aspergillum from antiquity bearing the inscription "Mardis anethiken." The most significant finding is considered to be the built-in square marble altar, constructed in classical times and dedicated to Hestia (Vesta) Isthmia, which testifies to the identity of one of the deities worshipped on the island. At the same time, it gives us the place name of the promontory where the "Isthmus" sanctuary is located, and certifies the existence of an isthmus. Besides Building A, another five buildings have been discovered, though their excavation has not been completed as yet. Building C is a large oblong duplex building constructed in a north-south direction and measuring 12.5 metres by 10 metres. It is divided into two rooms of equal size and goes back to the late 6th century BC. Building B is located 5 metres away from Building C, occupies a prominent position, and its dimensions are 20 metres by 8 metres.

Building E was discovered in the vicinity, outside the modern yard wall which has been retained solely for the purpose of protecting the already excavated Building A. It faces east to west and its plaster floors remain intact. The edifice dates to the Early Hellenistic period. The dimensions of the building cannot be determined at present. Finally, another large-size edifice has been discovered, to the east of Building E, which has been named Building F (Z in Greek). It has been determined that this building was likely used during the Late Classical / Early Hellenistic periods.

The discovery of five conches, from the 6th through the 3rd centuries BC, and inscribed with the word "APOLL," reinforces the view that this was a sanctuary dedicated to Apollo. The great similarities that the mobile items and architectural components unearthed at Despotiko present when compared to those found at the Delion of Paros - a sanctuary dedicated to Apollo and Artemis - lead to the assumption that this was a sanctuary dedicated to the worship of these two deities.

As is well known, the worship of Apollo was one of the most widespread in the Cyclades, with Delos being the largest centre of worship of that ancient god. According to tradition, there were some 22 smaller and more modest sanctuaries. It appears that the sanctuary at Despotiko was one of these.

To date, it has not been possible to determine the floor plan of the temple, as the foundations have yet to be unearthed. It is thought highly likely, however, that the foundations are to be found on the eastern side or within the L-shaped area formed by the ancient Building A.

The sanctuary at Despotiko constitutes a unique case in the area of the Aegean - a singular, untouched ancient sanctuary, which was in use from the 7th century BC through Roman times, and is located on one of the most wonderful and naturally beautiful uninhabited and pristine small islands in the Aegean.

THE VENETIAN CASTLE

The venetian Castle of Antiparos was built in 1440, to protect the local inhabitants from the pirates who so often invaded the island.

In the beginning it was built in square shape, with houses around and a circular tower in the middle.

That which remains of it today, is a circular base of the tower, which used to be the home of the local governor.

The walls of the houses served as the walls of the castle.

The only entrance to the castle is situated beside the Metropolis of Agios Nikolaos.

Beaches

Every year thousands of tourists visit these wonderful beaches. One can even discover small emerald coloured beaches which are unique in the Aegean.

These are not the only unique beaches mentioned above.

There are others which you can visit in combination with a mini - cruise with fishing boats.

In such a case one can enjoy the Pantieronisia, the small island of Despotiko famous for its archaelogical findings, the beach of Faneromeni, the one of Agios Spiridonas, the cave of Mastihari....all quiet and most beautiful.

Map of Antiparos

Click to enlarge

The island provides

  •  Hotel
  •  Restaurants
  •  Various

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