Paros is, rightfully, often referred to as the Marble Island, because the mountainous ground on the island consists of marble. On Paros one finds the marble considered being the world's finest. One cannot find whiter and purer marble anywhere else. The marble from Paros was famous for its translucency. The marble is translucent up to 3,5 cm, whereas the second best only makes 2,5 cm and is from Carrara in Italy. The Penteli marble, originating from a place close to Athens, is translucent only up to 1,5 cm. This is the ability that made this marble so attractive and popular.
The mine is situated several kilometers from the coast and several hundred meters above sea level. It must have been an awful job to bring the marble to the sea at the time when there was mining here. Except for a period of mining in the middle of the 19th century (when by the way marble for Napoleons coffin was taken from the mine) no mining has been done for several hundreds, maybe thousands of years. The peak period of mining was in the 6th and 5th century BC. The production of marble was huge, marble being brought to several of the famous temples being constructed at the time. It is said that the temple of Salomon, amongst others, was built with marble from Paros. The marble also was wanted by the artists. Therefore alle the famous sculptors of the time made their sculptures with this marble. Most of Delos (a small island close to Mykonos, with lots of archeological sites) is built with Paros marble. The perhaps most famous Greek sculpture, "Venus of Milos" was built with marble from this mine. The sculpture can now be seen in the museum of Louvre in Paris.
The mine is well marked when entering from the main road between Parikia and Lefkas. Turn left by the sign and drive to the parking lot. The mines are then situated just over a small hill to the right when looking in the direction of the valley. If you visit the mine, bring a torch and a pair of good shoes. It is dark, cold, steep and slippery inside the mine, and the humidity is high. But you don't have to enter the mines to find pieces of snow-white marble, as they are spread out in a wide area outside as well.