Naxos Yesterday

The island of Naxos has a prominent position in ancient culture, exemplified by the numerous archeological findings that are scattered on the island. According to mythology, Zeus himself was raised in Naxos island and especially worshiped together with Apollo. However the most famous legend is associated with Dionysus and Ariadne. Theseus abandoned Ariadne on Naxos, who earlier had helped him to face the Minotaur. Archeological findings indicate human  presence on the island since the Neolithic era and specifically the 4th  millennium BC.

Preistiric settlement - Panormos (2500 π.Χ) archaeological-museum archaeological-museum

The Cycladic culture occurs in the early 3rd millennium BC and marked by the famous Cycladic figurines. Moreover, the island is significantly influenced by the Minoan (after 1900 BC) and the Mycenaean civilization (until the end of the 11th century BC). During the 8th century BC the island participated in the large colonization in East and West and in cooperation with Chalcis founded the first Greek colony in Sicily, which still exists under the name of Naxos. In the 6th century BC, during the rule of the tyrant Lygdamis, most of the most famous monuments of the island were constructed, such as the famous “Portara”, the temple of Dionissos in Iria ,the temple of Demeter and the archaic aqueduct.

Portara Dionysos temple - Iria Aquaduct Demeter temple- Gyroulas

The island had a strong presence until the Byzantine period, when the decline of the Byzantine naval force contributed to the Venetian expansion, resulting in 1207 the diplomat Marco Sanudo to conquer Naxos and other islands and to found the Duchy of the Aegean, based in Naxos. During the Venetian occupation many Venetian nobles built their castles and mansions all around the island  delimitating the areas of their influence. In 1537 the invasion of the pirate Barbarossa in the Aegean gave to Turks the custody of Naxos till the Greek revolution of 1821. In 1930 Naxos has been incorporated in the newly created Greek state and it followed the course of modern Greek history since.

 Fotodotis monastery Byzantine frescoe Belonias tower