The Doors on the Islands of Paros and Rhodes, Greece

   by John Laprairie
    November 10, 2012

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception”
                                                                                                                                                        Aldous Huxley


A workshop door in old town Rhodes by John Lapririe ©

A workshop door in old town Rhodes. With the bike there how am I to enter?



I have travelled to many beautiful places in Europe and have played the tourist and also the photographer. Unlike the tourist, I find myself drawn to the things most people would never look at, nor consider taking a photo of. My wife and I like to travel light (of course after dropping off our luggage at our hotels). This allows us to venture down the alleyways and climb through the ruins without much to weigh us down. The photographs that result from our travels consist of only about 1% of our photos being one of us in front of the camera. The rest are of the unique and interesting experiences we come across.


A door in Rhodes Ancient Wall circa (1500's) by John Laprairie ©


A door in Rhodes Ancient Wall circa (1500's).


We have made two trips to the island of Rhodes and one day trip to Paros (saved us from rain on Santorini). What drew us to these islands were the Greek culture, the old towns, and the ruins. Both islands are relatively small in size but large in cultural significance. They are also quite different in housing styles. The buildings in Paros are generally painted in whitewash with blue doors and windows with rounded roofs of the traditional Cyclades design. Rhodes on the other hand is a medieval island. With lots of brick, stonework and ironwork. It is also a more modern island with a larger population and more industry. Both have beautiful beaches and wonderful food.


doorway in Rhodes old town leading to an old alleyway by John Laprairie ©


Another doorway in Rhodes old town leading to an old alleyway


On both islands we rented woefully underpowered small cars and explored the areas outside the main towns. What we found on Paros was a quiet country side with small villages and beaches. In each village we explored the roads and alleyways. Most roads are small winding trails that often lead to dead ends, churches or out of the village itself. As we explored, I would take snapshots of the buildings (old and new), the cafes, the beaches and occasionally the villagers themselves. Often I would find interesting and sometimes fascinating doors and windows, often elaborate in design or in color.


new window in an old Rhodes building. Mermaid motif with flowers. by John Laprairie ©


A relatively new window in an old Rhodes building. Mermaid motif with flowers.

We all have doors in our homes. We all have windows in our homes. One lets us in. The other lets us look in or out. Doors look more restrictive but often with only a knock, they will open. Thus allowing opportunities for more exploration. I have found that in Canada a lot of our doors are the same. Sometimes there is a different architectural detail or design but generally they are very similar. On our travels, while exploring the architecture, we often find the boring old door but with enough exploration we find the odd gem.


metal doorway by John Laprairie © Church in Paros by John Laprairie © cafe door by John Laprairie ©

A metal doorway leading to a museum in the Avenue of Knights, Rhodes.

A church in Paros showing the whitewash decay and old wooden door. Paroikia, Paros.

A door leading to a cafe. Another one way with no way to get in Santa Maria, Paros.

Usually it is a door that looks like it has been opened and closed thousands of times. It may look like a door that has been repaired dozens of times. There may a certain patina to it. The color may contrast the containing building.


Street of Paroikia by John Laprairie © Locks on door in Lefkes, Paros by John Laprairie © Old door by John Lapraire ©

Colorful streets of Paroikia, Paros with a metal gate hidden amongst the flowers.

Locks on a door in Lefkes, Paros. Progressively newer locks bolted onto older ones (see below).

An old building is returning to nature.


Old locks on door by John Laprairie ©

There may not be a door at all, just an opening that used to have a door. Occasionally that door may not have a lock. Sometimes it is left ajar offering up the interior to the tourist to see. Most people will walk by and not take time to notice how the interior may contrast vastly from the exterior.


Don not enter in front of old door by John Laprairie ©


 "Do Not Enter"? The roadway or the doorway to #648

The walls may be old, made of bricks or stone and have survived hundreds of years with layers of old paint. The interior may be newly renovated, shiny and bright. Other times I find that nature has taken the land back. Trees and vines will grow in the ruins. Cats or dogs now live there where people once did. It is not hard to imagine what the buildings were once used for but it is hard to know why they fell into ruins.


Red door Lefkes, Paros by John Laprairie © Ancient doorway by John Laprairie ©

Red door with weathered fade and broken window. Leftkes, Paros.

Ancient doorway, now barricaded at the church of Ag. Antonios. (death defying, 6 to 7 foot wide, 1 lane road up the side of the mountain with switchbacks and way too steep for our car which only made it 3/4 of the way up) .


My gear for these photographs.

Canon PowerShot SD550, Olympus E-PL1, Olympus M.Zuiko ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm f/4-5.6 MEGA O.I.S., Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/2.8. Various ND filters, circular polarizer filter and a gorillapod all contained in a small messenger bag.



John Laprairie portrait


John Laprairie is a multiimedia developer and photographer living in Calgary,AB. John is currently completing the fast track program at SAIT in Web Design Program. John also has a BSc in Cellular, Molecular & Microbial Biology (‘96) from the U of C. I am an amateur photographer who has always lived in Calgary, AB. Currently my muse is my 9 month old daughter, Lucia.


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