The white houses with the Cycladic architecture, the narrow alleys, the roads that are paved with “psaroplakes”, the “katikies”, the windmills, the churches with the marble bell-towers are the main characteristics of Parian architecture.
* Another differential element is the wealth of the morphological elements of high aesthetics which was the result of the long-lasting marble sculpture tradition and the influences of the religious architecture which added remarkable elements, such as the arched vaults, in small remarkable house samples.
Today on the island there are the big, constituted settlements, such as Parikia, Naousa, Lefkes, Marpissa, Kostos, Dragoulas and the individual rural units that are called “katikies”. Most of the settlements are developing around cores which maintain their initial defensive layout. In Naousa and in Parikia the separation of the residential areas, which were created as they were evolving, is clear.
The human settlement in the interior of Parikia’s castle that took place after the 15th century became the starting point for the creation of a minor insular architecture with the only aim being the safety of the residents. Later on the settlement in circular compartments took place outside the castle as well. They are characterized by the same space constraints. The residences were single-roomed, without a yard or auxiliary buildings and this role was taken over by the narrow alleys, which were housed creating rooms or a porch above, supported on arches, while the ground was still a passage.
Most houses were two-storey and belonged to two different families. The staircase was exterior with colourful railings, which were repeated identically in the neighbouring houses breaking the monotony of the white walls.
The space constraints and the lack of yards prevailed outside the ancient medieval circular compartments as well, with the only difference being that the closer to the region, the bigger were the houses. Finally, neoclassical buildings were developed in Parikia on the axis towards Katapoliani and they obtained yards and gardens (an influence from the urban centres of the rest of Greece).
Small yards protected by a tall junk yard were created in other settlements, such as Marpissa.
The basic local material, the stone (“psaropetra” and marble stone) was used for the construction of buildings in Paros.
Characteristic is the use of ancient marbles, such as columns and reliefs with representations built within the walls of the houses, and the elaborate plaster.
The Parian marble, white and gray, was used in order for the frames of the walls to be built and as a decorative material. A type of local wood, the so-called common junipers (a tree which looks like a cypress and is akin to the cedar) was used to bridge the openings. More rarely they used bigger beams, the “vordonaria”.
URBAN AND RURAL HOUSE
The first of the basic categories of the island’s houses that we mentioned (urban and rural) are distinguished in the simple folk houses, which were usually single-roomed, and those of the wealthy families or the mansion. On the way to Katapoliani, on Gravari Street, you will admire the second category of houses, which have an urban nature, they do not have exterior staircases and they have rich decoration (pilasters, railings, cornices and more). This neighbourhood is the only one on the island that has a homogeneous neoclassical character, whereas in other settlements there are individual neoclassical samples.
The “katikies” constitute the most representative type of rural building and they were developed because there were no auxiliary buildings in the basic settlements due to space constraints. They have a stable, warehouses, an oven, a chicken coop and a dovecote.