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Paros island news and views

Paros sits at the hub of the central group of Greek islands known as the Cyclades. Without a large airport Paros caters for the independent tourist and, with good ferry connections, is a firm favourite with campers and backpackers. A good selection of fine beaches, a good tourist infrastructure, a central location and excellent ferry connections makes Paros an ideal base for a Greek island holiday.

paros airport construction
Paros to get new airport

Greek minister pledges that flights will take off from a new Paros airport early in 2015. The Greek island of Paros looks set to open a new airport next year after the Greek government stepped in to speed up the project. Work on the new airport for Paros first started in 2012 and the project should be finished early next year. Full services of domestic flights from Athens and from airports on other Greek islands could be in operation at the new Paros airport as early as April 2015. But, at only 1,400 metres long, the new runway is still too short to take international charter flights direct from the UK so holidaymakers will still only be able to reach Paros by ferry or on a domestic flight. Nevertheless, the new airport will give a shot in the arm to the local economy on the island of Paros and hopefully help to boost the annual tourist numbers. The current airport, near Alyki, in the south of Paros, which opened in 1982 will be abandoned and its future remains uncertain. The original Paros runway was designated a national airport in 1989 following a number of upgrades. Plans to build a large military airport at Kambos in the late 1950s were abandoned because of local opposition and the airport was eventually built at Santorini. As a result, Paros was left behind in the tourist boom of the 1060's and 1970's as charter planes flew in thousands of holidaymakers to Santorini each year. Paros remained off the tourist trail until the 1980's when tourists began to look for more independent holiday islands, off the main tourist trail and relatively unspoilt by cheap package holiday flights. A firm favourite of more discerning tourists, Paros combines a beautiful interior with a succession of dune-backed sandy beaches, picture postcard hill villages and a capital port at Parikia that, although busy, has kept tourist development low key. The new Paros airport scheme has not been without its problems. Plans for a runway big enough to take charter planes had to be scaled back in the wake of fierce local opposition. The scheme ground to a halt in 2000 when local residents demanded an environmental study to safeguard a nearby butterfly colony. Further efforts suffered a setback in 2011 when Greece missed the chance to get European funding for the €23 million project Special laws to appropriate the land got through parliament eventually in October 2011, just in time tfor the airport scheme to qualify for funding from the Greek government. The new airport will certainly mean increased capacity for domestic flights but it will not be able to accommodate large jet airliners from major charter companies which need a minimum of 2,000 metre of runway for take-off and landing. This is welcome news to opponents who say an international airport would threaten the traditional character of the island but bad news for those who point out the huge benefits to be gained from increased tourism on Paros. It's not all over yet. Opponents of the new airport are still pressing to get the project halted, even at this late stage. Formal complaints have been lodged over the potential harmful environmental impact with demands for a new environmental study to meet recent environmental legislation introduced in 2011. Anti-airport campaigners warn of the danger of polluted run-off water being channeled into nearby Voutakos Bay despite assurances that the water will be properly treated. Now the Greek government has stated it plans to open the new airport on the island of Paros in early 2015 even if temporary structures need to be used, Greece 's Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Michalis Chryssochoidis has given assurances on the project in a series of meetings with Paros island officials. Photographs and videos of the work on the new airport can be seen on the official website of the Paros island council here.

Greek all-night disco
Antiparos music ban

Music ban for Antiparos holiday bars. Music bars and discos may be attracting youngsters on Greek Island holidays but they are giving locals on the tiny Greek island of Antiparos a major headache. Bar owners on Antiparos island, near the popular holiday island of Paros, have been asked to turn down the volume to give local residents some peace and quiet at night. The call has come from the municipal council which met recently to discuss complaints at late-night noise at bars and clubs providing musical entertainment for visitors on Greek island holidays. Now Anitparos holiday bar owners have been given 40 days to quieten down or face action to curb music-making which currently can last all night. The council has asked people on both sides to show a positive attitude and patience. A council spokesman said: "We thought we should make another attempt to reconcile the views of the residents of Antiparos and the owners of such establishments in order to put an end to the tension and mood of confrontation existing between both sides." Antiparos Mayor Yiannis Levendakis added: "The business owners should undertake not to disturb the residents of the island and the people residing in the vicinity of these establishments." Bar owners have agreed to turn off the music at 3.30am nightly, except on Friday and Saturday and to close down at 4am every night.

Archaeological dig on Despitikos
Kouros statue found

Kouros statue found near Paros. Excavations on an islet near the popular holiday island of Paros have unearthed more remains of a 'kouros' statue – the third to be found at the site. The latest find, of a headless upper torso, has been discovered at a dig on the the uninhabited islet of Despotiko, south-west of the small island of Antiparos and just off the coast of Paros in the Cyclades. It is the third find of a rare 'kouros' statue to be found at the site in recent years. The statues, once common in the Greek islands, are from the Archaic Period and depict a standing male youth. The latest statue was found upside down and supported by marble stones. It has the left arm bent over the chest, typical of the 6th century BC style used at 'kouros' sculpture workshops on the nearby island of Paros. The lower torso of the 'kouros' was unearthed in excavations in 2005, while the head was found last year. The fragments are all said to be in excellent condition. Excavation director , Giannos Kouragios, stressed on the importance of this discovery, as it is the third 'kouros' to be found on the same site. His team has been excavating the large temple of the Archaic Period dedicated to Apollo since 2001. Ceramic inscriptions found at the site confirm the cult of Apollo and Artemis on the islet. It is thought that the site attracted many pilgrims bearing offerings. Artifacts of all kinds have been discovered including bronze and ivory buckles, gold, glass and stone beads as well as statuettes. knives, swords, agricultural tools and vases. It is believed that Despotoko, along with neighbouring Prespesinthos played an important religious role in the Aegean in antiquity when it was linked to the even smaller islet of Tsimintiri where excavations have unearthed more temple buildings. It is thought that many 'kouros' statues were destroyed in the war between Athens and Paros, when militiamen were sent to Paros to punish the islanders for siding with the Persians during the Persian Wars.

Marc Buronfosse at Paros jazz festival
Jazz delights

Jazz delights on Paros Greece. Jazz lovers are in for a treat on the Greek holiday island of Paros this month with the launch of the first Paros Jazz Academy in the village of Lefkes. Perantinos Travel, in Piso Livadi, have teamed up with bass player Marc Buronfosse, a teacher at the Paris National Conservatory, to organise the jazz festival on July 7 to 13, 2011. Visitors can study musical harmony in blues and jazz standards, the role of soloist and the relationship to the rhythm section, musical phrasing and improvisation. Even better, those with performance nerves can learn how to manage stage fright and tackle solo playing. The course will also focus on relaxation techniques with an introduction to Qi Gong by Joe Quitzke. When night falls expect jam sessions at the Albatross Hotel on Logaras Beach, Paros, when teachers will perform and a final concert by students on July 12. Anyone visiting for a holiday on Paros and interested in taking part in the Paros Jazz Academy can contact Athena Perantinos on +30 693 433 8578; email: athenaperantinou@gmail.com or visit www.parosjazzacademy.com