To one side of the slabbed central square in Parikia is an imposing, if drab, wall with an unattractive gateway and steps. Beyond this monolithic marble wall however is one of the most beautiful buildings in the whole of Greece.
Dubbed the finest church in the Aegean, the Cathedral of Ekatontapiliani (the Church of One Hundred Doors) was founded in 327 AD, rebuilt in 527-565 AD, reconstructed after a 10th century earthquake and again in 1855 then finally restored between 1959 and 1966.
What you see today is considered to be essentially the church as it was, in all its 6th century glory. And what a glory it is.
The lovely courtyard is full of flowers, ancient marble slabs and the church bells hang from a majestic old cypress - the bell tower itself was destroyed in an earthquake in 1783.
The church basically consists of an atrium and baptistery outside, the porch and main church, the sanctuary and three chapels. To the right of the main door is a gallery called the yinaikonitis (women's place) where women once stood apart.
In the centre of the church is the dome supported by four large, square pillars and before you a huge, ornately carved wooden and marble screen is covered with icons and holy images. There are nowhere near 100 doors but the name has stuck anyway.
Beyond is the sanctuary; entered through two doors where once only emperors and clerics were allowed. Today you can go in, but only with the express permission of a priest or nun.
This is still an active place of worship, despite thousands of visitors trooping around each year, and daily services are still held as they have been for 1,500 years.
Matins is at 7am and vespers at around 6.30pm. If a service in progress it is considered proper to stand each time a priest enters and to bow your head as he passes by.