The Church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) Paraportiani is situated in the neighbourhood of Kastro, in the town of Chora, on the Greek island of Mykonos.
Its name literally means "Our Lady of the Side Gate" in Greek, as its entrance was found in the side gate of the entrance to the Kastro area, right by the sea.Panagia Paraportiani is among the most photographed churches not only in Mykonos, but in the whole world.
The special thing about this church is that it actually consists of five small churches that were built one on top or next to the other. The church of Agios Efstathios is the centre of this complex, surrounded by the churches of Agios Anargyros, Agios Sozon and Agia Anastasia. On top of these four churches, there is the church of Virgin Mary, which looks like a dome.
This impressive, whitewashed church actually consists of five separate churches which are joined: the four churches (dedicated to Saint Eustathios, Saint Sozon, Saints Anargyroi and Saint Anastasia) are at ground level and constitute the base of the fifth church that has been built above them.
Construction of this church started in 1425 and was not completed until the 17th century. The five churches were not contructed at once, but gradually along centuries. The oldest church is Agios Anargyros, which was built in late 14th century. The other churches were built in the 16th and the 17th century, while there were renovations till 1920.
What makes this church so unique is its construction which is an assymetrical conglomeration of 4 churches into one. Notice the 4 different architectural styles mixing Byzantine, vernacular, traditional and western style.