The enchanting beauty of Parga: The Land Island of Epirus
Nestled in the tranquil lap of Epirus, Parga is a town that defies the standard definitions of natural beauty. A sight for sore eyes, Parga exudes the serene allure of an island on land, embracing a charming island in its bay and enticing the viewer with its captivating willingness to embrace the magnificence of the Ionian Sea.
Parga’s eternal charm
A fascinating blend of natural charm and historical heritage, Parga carries the stories of its centuries-old existence with unparalleled pride. The picturesque town remains a sight to behold, clothed in its captivating beauty that only grows with each passing moment.
Perched in an amphitheater-like arrangement overlooking the small island of Panagia, Parga stands as a vivid representation of the splendor of the Ionian Sea. The island of Panagia, with its ancient chapel and white bell tower rising into the sky, manifests an ethereal presence against the azure backdrop of the sea.
Adding to town’s charm is the old Venetian castle of Parga, a symbol of Parga’s historical pride. It stands as a testament to the town’s illustrious past, always ready to sail through the memories of its inhabitants and visitors.
As you look further to the right, the bright colors of the settlement catch your eye. The colorful two- and three-storey houses showcase the classic Ionian architecture that gives Parga its traditional island character.
A stroll through the town reveals cobbled streets adorned with uphill paths, narrow canteens, arched entrances and sturdy doors. The flora-rich courtyards complement the rolling hills and contrast pleasantly with the translucent lace beaches, creating a scene that never fails to enchant.
Alkis Alkaios: The heart and soul of Parga
The soul of Parga resonates with the poetry of Alkis Alkaios, who is as much a part of the town as its architectural and natural treasures. His work “The Spring of Parga” beautifully articulates his love and longing for the city. The artist, born as Vangelis Liaros, but better known by his pseudonym Alkis Alcaeus, grew up in Parga and remained connected to it until his death in 2012.
In a letter to the Parga Association of Athens, he beautifully expressed his feelings, stating his deep-rooted love for Parga. His songs, he mentioned, contained traces of Parga, subtly echoing his undying attachment to the city that formed his identity.
Parga’s fascinating history
The history of Parga is interwoven with fascinating stories of the past. It served as a safe haven for the Epirotes during the Byzantine period, providing a strategic refuge against invasions and attacks. A detailed historical analysis of the city would reveal the influences of various powers that sought to control this strategic location.
The city flourished economically under the Venetians, who fortified the city and built its iconic castle. After the Venetian occupation, Parga fell under the control of the French and the English, each of whom left their mark on the city.
In 1815, the inhabitants of Parga began a rebellion against the dwindling French power and sought refuge under British protection.
In 1819, after a financial agreement, the British transferred control of the city to Ali Pasha of Ioannina. This transfer eventually led to the complete Ottoman takeover. As a result of the departure of the British and the transfer of power to Ali Pasha in 1819, the local population left Parga completely. Ali Pasha then brought in Albanian-speaking people from Chameria to populate the empty city.
In an attempt to restore law and order in the region, Ottoman General Kutahi Pasha issued an invitation to the natives of Parga in 1830, encouraging them to return to their homeland.
The rule of the Ottoman Empire over Parga, along with the rest of Epirus, ended in 1913 after Greece’s victory in the Balkan Wars. Consequently, Parga was incorporated into Greece, marking a significant turn in its historical timeline.
The beaches: The heart of Parga’s natural charm
No description of Parga would be complete without mentioning its stunning beaches.
Just a stone’s throw from the castle, Valtos Beach stretches for nearly three kilometers. Accessible via a scenic paved road, this beach is a picture of pure tranquility with its sparkling sands and soothing waves.
Another enchanting spot is Kryoneri Beach, located opposite the rocky islet of Skorda. Kryoneri beach is a fascinating contrast of the calm beach and the towering cliffs.
Further east of Parga is the beach of Lichnos, known for its unspoiled environment. Nearby, the bay of Agios Giannakis, with its underwater freshwater spring, is a unique attraction for nature lovers and adventurers.
Parga: An endless symphony of history and beauty in Epirus
Parga is a town steeped in legend, history and captivating beauty. A trip to this island of Epirus is a journey back in time, accompanied by the serene whisper of the Ionian Sea and the majestic silence of its historic castle. As we leave the enchanting city, we carry with us the promise of returning to this picturesque land, eternally drawn to its endless blue horizon.