The famous marble of Paros: The Marble of Paros is one of the world's finest marble varieties, famous since ancient times. Its main characteristics are clearness, limpidity and its ability to capture the light, which offers original plasticity in the sculptures, making it one of the most unique materials of classical architecture.
Paros owns a unique cultural deposit, the famous ancient quarries in Marathi. From there, local craftsmen provided the Parian marble to the rest of the ancient world. A valuable trading product, the marble brought prosperity to the island and also challenged many Greek city-states to conquer it.
Praxiteles, Polyklitos, and Scopas are famous ancient sculptors who worked with the Parian marble and made miracles. The Parian marble was considered the finest quality in antiquity. It was used for the construction of the Acropolis, the temple of Zeus in Olympia, the temple of Apollo in Delphi, the temple of Apollo Epicurus in Peloponnese and in almost all the famous temples and sanctuaries. Famous statues were also made of Parian marble, including the Nike of Paioios, the Venus of Milos, Hermes of Praxiteles and the Victory of Samothrace. It is estimated that 70% of the sculptures excavated in the Aegean islands are made from Parian marble.
During the centuries that followed the Roman occupation, the marble quarries of Paros were gradually abandoned. During the Byzantine, Venetian and Turkish rule, the quarries remained inactive and started to function again for a short period in the 19th century, after the formation of the Independent Greek State. Today, the quarries are abandoned once again and the white marble has entirely run down. The original quarries, which were used from the 6th century BC onwards, can still be seen on the northern side of the island on the slopes of its central peak.
The main rival of the Parian marble in antiquity was the Pentelic marble (originating from Mount Pentelicus in Athens), which is also flawless white, albeit with a uniform, faint yellow tint that makes it shine with a golden hue under sunlight. Pentelic marble was also widely used in temple and statue construction.