The best way to discover and admire the architecture of Paros is to walk among its narrow little streets, letting them choose your direction, exploring the shapes, shadows and colors of the lovely little villages. We invite you a virtual walk now, and hope that soon you will feel obliged to visit our gorgeous island!
In the traditional Cycladic architecture, functionality, protection, simplicity and aesthetics are mixed, forming a particularly interesting and beautiful picture.
Architecture in Paros is the typical, traditional Cycladic architecture but the diversity of elements coming from different civilizations adds a special touch.
This diversity is due to the fact that all the conquerors who ruled the island left an architectural trace behind as in the town of Naoussa where the Venetian port create a contrast with the traditional Cycladic architecture or in Parikia, where old two story Venetian houses (for example the building of the former Collage of Arts) show definite Italian influence.
The buildings on the island are mainly whitewashed cubic houses with flat roofs and colored, wooden windows, doors, balconies and pergolas. The houses are built amphitheatrically, one on the top of each other. The streets are stone paved and decorated with white lines, emphasizing the natural curves of the stones.
The narrow, labyrinth-like streets and steps are snaking around the houses and tiny white chapels, leading to the top of the villages where usually a blue domed church stands. White windmills and blue domed churches are typical of Cyclades (except for Mykonos where most of the chapels and churches are red domed).
The most famous church on Paros is Ekatontapiliani (Church of 100 doors) in Parikia. Legend has it that only 99 can be found and the 100th gate will only be found when Istanbul (Constantinople) becomes Greek again. (If you would like to read more about the church there is a fantastic web page http://www.ekatontapyliani.org )
Building Regulations on Paros Island
To protect the island’s unique local architecture the local administration has taken precautions and introduced very strict building regulations. All the new buildings constructed on the island have to follow the typical Cycladic architectural style in order to leave unharmed the beauty of the island. Some of the most important regulations are the following:
1. Houses cannot exceed 2 floors (ground and first) and the first floor area must be equal or less than 1/3 of the ground floor. Constructing a basement is only allowed outside the city plan.
2. If you build outside the city plan the minimum land area required to obtain building permission is 8000 m² if the title is new (recent subdivision). For titles related before 1993 the minimum area is 4000 m². The maximum livable surface area of the building is200 m² on 4000 m² of land and 280 m² on 8000 m² of land but one can add 25 m² of garage area.
3. Inside the city plan the maximum livable surface of the building can be much more than if you build outside the city plan. Inside the settlements houses are connected to each other or only have very little space in between them.
4. Doors and windows must be made of wood and must conform to certain aesthetic standards.
5. Terraces can be added to the house without building permission and they to not count as livable surface.
6. Buildings need to be white washed in order to obtain residence permit that is a must for electricity (this is the law from 2006 onwards. Does not apply for building permits given before the year of 2006.)