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The creation of the Environmental and Cultural Park of Paros was inspired by the character of the peninsula of Agios Ioannis Detis, which hosts it.
Inspiration came from the unique natural landscape, the sculptured rock formations, the caves, the hidden coves and the sandy beaches. But also by the traces of the actual history of the island of Paros which can be found in areas such as the Monastery of Agios Ioannis Detis, the lighthouse of Cape Corakas and the sheltered bay of the peninsula where sleek yachts and sailboats find safe mooring, just as the Russian Fleet of Count Alexey Orlov did in the 18th century during the Russo-Turkish War (1768-1774).
But the actual creation and planning of the Paros Park came out of an urgent need to stop the degradation of the peninsula and the blind exploitation as a place of uncontrolled sheep grazing in the hinterland and even mass tourism on the beaches.
There was a unanimous decision to take action to protect the beauty of the natural environment for all of us, inhabitants and visitors of Paros and the Cyclades, and to highlight and restore its monuments and to transform it into a living nucleus of culture and ecology by applying innovative concepts for modern forms of development.
So we rolled up our sleeves and got to work and recruited scientists, environmentalists, engineers, architects, archaeologists, and various technicians. We created a network of hard working and dedicated volunteers and together created the necessary designs, completed projects and actions that were necessary to breathe life into what the Environmental and Cultural Park of Paros is today.
In record time, made possible by reliable studies and the estimated authorizations, the necessary works were completed for the immediate operation of the Parks first phase of development. The funding came from the small initial capital of the company, but mostly by donations from individuals, a loan taken out by the SA and the first revenues of the Park. Manifold was also the support of the citizens and friends of Paros, as was generously expressed by offers of studies by scientists, free labor and materials from local professionals.
Paros Park Municipal S.A. Current Board of Trustees
- Elisavet Papazoi, President
- Yiannis Koulianos, Vice president
- Markella Legakis, CEO
- Anna Kagani, Member
- Nikos Malatestas, Member
- Athanassios Marinopoulos, Member
- Anna Polichandrioti, Member
- Christodoulos Sarandinos, Member
- Panagiotis Simitzis, Member
The Environmental and Cultural Park of Paros is located within the Ai Yiannis Detis peninsula, an area which covers 80 hectares of an authentic Cycladic setting with impressive rock formations, caves, hidden coves, and beaches with crystal clear waters. Throughout the peninsula there are traces of the history of the Aegean which include a prehistoric settlement, the post-Byzantine monastery of Ai Yiannis, and remnants of the headquarters of the Russian fleet which were located on the peninsula during the Russo-Turkish War (1768-1774). This period in the history of Paros is commonly referred to as the “Orlofika” which was taken from the name of the Russian Admiral in charge of the fleet, Count Alexey Orlof. From 1770 to 1775 the peninsula of Ai Yiannis Detis was chosen to be the location for the base of the Russian fleet due to its strategic location and its safe harbor. At one time the Russian Archipelago Squadron of Count Alexey Orlov had 42 ships in the bay of Naousa, the majority of them anchored in the peninsula of Ai Yiannis.
The name Agios Ioannis or Ai Yianis (Saint John) can be found as early as 1530 in manuscript portolan charts found at the Library of Greek Parliament and that of Zagora in Pelion, while a relative report exists in the first printed portolan of D. Tagia (Venice 1573). In the maps of the Russian fleet where the troop installations are shown to be located in the bay of Naoussa (1770-1774) and in later maps (1776 Gouffier) a building is shown where the present day monastery is located but without any mention which indicates that it is a monastery or church. An inscription at the main church of the monastery reports of a renovation undertaken by the monk Joseph on June 16 1806. From the texts of the Parian P. Dimitrakopoulou, member of the Filiki Eteria and a minister in the first revolutionary government of Greece, we know that a “lazaretto” operated in the area of the monastery for the ships that arrived in Paros. After a law of king Othon regarding monasteries, the monastery of Agios Ioannis is abandoned by the monks. In 1964 the Dutch artist Gizella D’aily takes residence at the monastery of Agios Ioannis with the permission of the ecclesiastical and community authority and remains there with some interruptions until 1982. The building of the monastery and its neighboring cells are repaired and maintained during her stay there. She is forced to evacuate the premises after residents of Naoussa take occupation of the area. The festival of the monastery of Agios Ioannis Detis is celebrated on August 29, the day of the decapitation of St. John the Precursor. Pilgrims and religious followers assemble at the monastery for an all night mass on the eve of the festival and remain until the early morning hours. According to the doctor and folklorist Othona Kapari the title of Detis, which means he who ties up or heals in Greek, came about on account of the anchoring of many boats in the natural harbor of Agios Ioannis or because of the healing of many of Naousas’ residents from Malaria in the 18th and 19th century.