CREDIT : Video by John Koukouzis
Naxos is the largest and greenest island in the Cyclades with impressively high mountains and fertile valleys. According to Greek mythology, Naxos is linked to the wedding of Ariadne and Dionysus; a union that blessed the island with its fertility and its distinctive wine which was highly prized in the ancient world.
Love at the first sight upon arrival at the port. Portara is a marble gate that used to be the entrance of an ancient temple. It started being built in the 6th-century bc., in honor of the god Apollo.
The Castle in Naxos town
The next monument which attracts attention is Sanoudos castle. It rises imposingly at the top of Naxos town, and was constructed by the Venetian crusader Marko Sanudo in 1207. At the center of it, there is the central square with a catholic and ruins his castle. Right next to it, there are buildings worth visiting such as the Ursuline school, where the Historical Archive of Naxos is housed. Also, Kapella Kazantza, was built in the 14th century which, according to tradition, served as the ducky chapel of Markos Sanudos. And, finally, the Commercial School, where the acclaimed Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis studied for a year.
In your first contact with the island of Naxos you must add the small island which is situated in the middle of Naxos’ port and upon it the picturesque small chapel of Virgin Mary of Myrtidiotissa is to be found. In the mountain above the city, one can see the white monastery of St. John the Chrysostom and the sculptured church of Saint John the Theologian.
It is located near the port. It has picturesque alleys and special architectural design. Enchanting and charming, the city gives off the serenity of a previous era. In this place you will find many shops, restaurants and cafes.
The Temple of Dimitra (Giroulas)
In Giroula area, located at the south of the Sagri village, upon the hummock of a fecund valley, there is the restored temple of Dimitra, one of the most important monuments in Naxos. The archaic temple is dated from about 530-520 bc and for its construction white marble was used. The temple was consecrated to Goddess Dimitra and her Daughter.
Temple of Dionysus (Iria)
The Temple of Dionysus lies on a fertile valley, in Livadia area, in a distance of 3 km from the Town. This is an ancient sanctuary, of Ιοnic order, and its existence dates back to eth 14th century b.c
Kouros in Apollonas Village
This is an imposing ancient sculpture with a length of approximately 10 m which lies incomplete on the ground, possibly at the spot it was being sculptured. It takes back to the beginning of the 6th century b.c and in all probability, it was meant as the personalization of God Dionysus. It is located in the picturesque village Apollonia in Naxos, at the north part of the island, where an ancient quarry operated.
Kouros in Melanes Village
This is piece of art at approximately 570 bc and depicts a naked adolescent. He lies in a garden on the ground and its length is about 6m. This statue is incompleted and it is displayed in the Melanes village, at Flerio, where an ancient quarry operated.
It is located at the southeastern part of Naxos and constitutes one of the most important monuments on this island. It is a cylindrical building with an outside diameter of 9.20 m and a height of about 15m. It was built with large marble blocks of various sizes. Its existence is estimated since the end of 4Th-century b.c and was used as a frythoria for sending messages.
Explore the villages of Chalki (old capital of Naxos), Filoti, Apeiranthos to get a feel of the authentic Naxian way of life.