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Lefkes

Lefkes is a mountainous traditional Cycladic village.It is built amphitheatrically in cruciform shape, at an altitude of 250 meters, at the centre of the island.At 10 kilometres’ distance from the port of Paroikia, the capital of Paros.It is surrounded by small forest areas, olive groves and vineyards.It is characterised by its beautiful, full of pines forest, which covers one side of the village.Nine wind mills stand on top of the surrounding hills, two of which have been transformed into residences, the other being left in tumbledown status.

On one hill, to the west of the village, stands the Prophet Elias chapel.Right behind that hill, the tallest mountain of the island, approximately 771 metres’ tall, rises with magnificence, hosting on its top the Holy Temples of Aghioi Pantes and Prophet Elias, as well as telecommunications installations and wind energy generators.

To the east, there is open view to the strait between Paros and Naxos, at 5 kilometres’ distance.The natural site of Lefkes extends to the south, down to the coastal zone of Aspro Horio and Glyfes.

Name - Population

Until 1912, Lefkes was a municipality named “Municipality of Yria”, with population of approximately 2500 inhabitants.It was renamed into Lefkes (lefkos means white) because of the white colour on the costume of its inhabitants (white cloth cap and white bloomers) and the abundant, extra tall poplars (called “lefkes” in Greek) existing in the village.Nowadays, it has approximately 850 permanent inhabitants, who more than double in the summer months.

Identity

Lefkes strongly preserve their traditional features.Walking on the village streets, visitors can:

  • find everywhere samples of the folk architecture and distinctive sculpture on doors, arches and parapets of churches;
  • encounter narrow quaint alleys and streets with old marble plates and fishing plates, bleached with whitewash on their perimeter;
  • see the traditional “terraces”, through which news travel to the entire village;
  • enjoy quaint flowered yards and balconies, small beautiful old houses and new ones, dressed in the distinctive insular colours, as well as Neoclassic buildings;
  • The narrow and grade-separated roads, with their many stairs, render the settlement inaccessible by wheeled vehicles.Thus, in an exhaust gas-free atmosphere and noise-free environment, trekking is very pleasant.

The true joy comes, though, when walking on the Byzantine cobblestone road.The village’s squares and openings stand there hospitable, ready to provide some rest from the upward and downward grades.There, visitors can truly enjoy the calmness they seek for and breath fresh air, full of oxygen.Especially at the picturesque central square, which is a reference point for the locals, visitors can also feel their warmth and friendliness.

Particular features

Lefkes are noted not only for their beautiful scenes and their dry and healthy climate, but also for their cleanness, while the people of Lefkes are noted for their hospitality, earnestness, courtesy and peculiar idiom (used especially by aged people).

Products

Lefkes is a primarily mountainous village and, therefore, poor. Its products are the typical ones produced by mountainous villages and are not enough. For that reason, there has always been extensive migration, resulting in the shrinkage of the village. Its main products are olive oil, wine, ouzo (called “souma” by the local people), grapes, figs (“samota” is the name of a traditional fig preparation), vinegar, meat and dairy products.