Located in the Aegean Sea, Paros is the third largest island of the Cyclades archipelago, after Naxos and Syros. The island covers an area of 196 square kilometres. Paros' neighbours include the islands of Naxos, Ios, Sifnos and Syros. The relief of Paros is mostly mountainous with a slightly indented coastline of 119 km. The rocky and stony surface has been famous all over Greece for the white ornamental marble, which is still mined there to this day. Several ways to reach the island are possible, by air from Athens or by boat from the ports of Pirea, Lavrio and Rafina. In addition to links with the Greek mainland, Paros has good connections with its neighboring islands. Parikia is not only the island's capital but also its port, which represents the gateway to the "outside" world. Here the traditional and the modern are in harmony with each other creating a light and pleasant harmony: whitewashed cottages with blue windows, churches and traditional eateries are conveniently set up next to the port and the buildings that go with it.
Inexpensive cafes, chains of tavernas and restaurants, small shops, all cater for guests arriving and already saying goodbye to the welcoming island. The buzz and bustle of port life gradually begins to fade as one moves further away from the port area. Here, away from the hustle and bustle, and in the quietness of the park, rises the island's main attraction - the Church of Our Lady of St. Stovrata.
Tradition has it that the church has 99 visible doors and that the hundredth will remain locked and invisible until Constantinople revert to being Greek. Not far from the church is the local Archaeological Museum, which was founded in 1960. In the heart of the capital, on a high hill behind a stone wall, are the remains of the medieval Venetian Castle/Castro, built as early as the 13th century AD. The castle was built by the Venetian Duke Marco San