Three seas - Two islands - The Mediterranean
The ancient town of Faros – today's Stari Grad on the island of Hvar – is the oldest Croatian town. It was founded in 385 or 384 B.C. by inhabitants of the Greek island Paros in the Aegean Sea, which was the birth place of the poet Archilohus and the sculptor Scopas. Faros existed as an independent town/state (polis) for almost four centuries until it came under the rule of the Romans at the end of the period before Christ. Preparation for the Faros - Paros – Faros expedition began with the desire to renew the connection between these two islands- to the delight of all – which are around 700 nautical miles from each other.
Members of the expedition were: Branko Kirigin, archaeologist and leader of the expedition who visited Paros several times and made contacts with archaeologists there as well as with the island inhabitants, Aldo Čavić, Stari Grad Centre for Culture head-curator, captain Dean Roić from Hvar and BSc Ante Žuljević, junior researcher of the Laboratory for Bento at the Oceanography and Fishing Institute in Split, Andro Tomić, a winemaker from Jelsa and Darko Šoša, a painter from Hvar. The expedition was followed by a Croatian National Television (HRT) team, guided by our well known researcher and alpinist, Stipe Božić. Navigation lasted around a month.
Reconstruction of the trail along which, Paros’s inhabitants came the 700 nautical miles to Hvar some 2400 years ago, sailing along three seas: the Aegean, the Ionian and the Adriatic with the aim of re-establishing connections between the islands was the main objective of this expedition. This was later realized by numerous responsive visits by Paros delegations to the Stari Grad Faros.
FAROS - PAROS
The expediton started from Stari Grada on 26 April 2003 to the city of Hvar, then to Palagruža (Island of Diomede) from where it continued to Viesta on the Gargan peninsula, where another ancient sanctuary is situated. Sailing continued from Viesta to Bari and then to Otranto - an important point for ancient sailors. From Otranto they then passed the Ionian strait and sailed to Corfu, the ancient Corcyra - island of Alcinous – the main station of ancient and medieval sailors on their way to the Adriatic. From Corfu, over the islands of Leuce, Ithaca, Cephalonia and Zakynthos they sailed to Pylos, Nestor’s town on the shore of Messenia, on western Peloponesse. From Pylos they then sailed to the promontory of Tianaron where famous sanctuaries are situated as well as one at the entrance to Had. They continued to the strait between the island of Kythira - Aphrodite’s birth place – and to the promontory of Malea, also known for the Poseidon sanctuary. From there they sailed to Milos Island, mainly known for its obsidian and Venus sculpture, and then along the island of Sifnos to Paros and Parikia, the island's capital.
The route described above is in fact one of two possible routes between Paros and Faros.
On the island of Paros, the hosts were mayor Konstantinos Argousis and BSc Demetrius Schilardi, director of the Paros’s Archaeological Institute.
Paros is situated in the heart of the Aegean Sea and like Hvar is surrounded by other islands, Paros is surrounded by Cyclades. Principally known for its marble, the whitest and the most transparent in the world, of which parts of some of the most beautiful temples in Greece were made. Smaller than Hvar by about 100 km2, today it has around 8000 permanent inhabitants (Hvar has around 11,500). It is of volcanic origin, spheral, mountainous and a fertile island with numerous springs of potable water. Its inhabitants mainly do fishing and agriculture, and recently (since the 1970s) with tourism too.
From Parikia then they moved towards the Sunion promontory where the notable Poseidon temple can be found, partially built from Paros’ marble. From here they started to the Corinthian isthmus and then towards the port of Ithea and Delphi, the Apollo sanctuary which ordered the Paros inhabitants to settle in Hvar. From Delphi they sailed along the Corinthian bay to Ithaca, home to the Odyssey. From Ithaca they continued to Corfu and then along the Albanian coast of the Adriatic, visiting the ports of Orika, Dirahion (today's Drač) and Lissos (today's Lješ), which all have something in common with Faros. From Lissos onto Boka Kotorska now Risno, and residence of queen Teuta who, together with Demetrius of Hvar, governed this part of the Adriatic in the 3rd century B.C. Sailing then continued along the Croatian coast to Dubrovnik, Orebić and Korčula to Hvar. This sailing route is the second possible route used by Paros inhabitants to come to Hvar.