Paradise Found


Various photographs all around from Naxos, at various times. Enjoy!

Naxos is the biggest Greek island in the Cyclades Area, in the middle of the Aegean sea. It takes about 5 hours from Piraeus by boat to reach the island, which is the center of a wider area called “Naxos and Small Cyclades”. Small Cyclades is a 5 island complex, comprising from Irakleia, Sxoinousa, Donousa, Keros and Koufonissia.

The island has an amazing natural beauty, long sandy beaches, traditional villages, extraordinary food and many different attractions, like “Portara” which is the remaining of the ancient Temple of Apollon.According to Greek mythology, the young Zeus was raised in a cave on Mount Zas (“Zas” means “Zeus”).

However, the island is widely supposed to be the isle of God Dionysus, God of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness, fertility, theatre and religious ecstasy.

One legend has it that in the Heroic Age before the Trojan War, Theseus abandoned Ariadne on this island after she helped him kill the Minotaur and escape from the Labyrinth. Dionysus (god of wine, festivities, and the primal energy of life) who was the protector of the island, met Ariadne and fell in love with her. But eventually Ariadne, unable to bear her separation from Theseus, either killed herself (according to the Athenians), or ascended to heaven (as the older versions had it).

Classical Era

During the 8th and 7th centuries BC, Naxos dominated commerce in the Cyclades. Naxos was the first Greek city-state to attempt to leave the Delian League circa 476 BC; Athens quickly squashed the notion and forcibly removed all military naval vessels from the island’s control. Athens then demanded all future payments from Naxos in the form of gold rather than military aid.

Herodotus describes Naxos circa 500 BC as the most prosperous Greek island.

In 502 BC, an unsuccessful attack on Naxos by Persian forces led several prominent men in the Greek cities of Ionia to rebel against the Persian Empire in the Ionian Revolt, and then to the Persian War between Greece and Persia.

Duchy of Naxos

In the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade, with a Latin Emperor under the influence of the Venetians established at Constantinople, the Venetian Marco Sanudo conquered the island and soon captured the rest of the islands of the Cyclades. Of all the islands, only on Naxos was there any opposition to Sanudo: a group of Genoese pirates had occupied the castle between the end of Byzantine rule and Sanudo’s arrival. To steel his band’s resolve, Sanudo burnt his galleys “and bade his companions to conquer or die.” The pirates surrendered the castle after a five weeks’ siege.

Naxos became the seat of Sanudo’s realm, which he ruled with the title of Duke of Naxia, or Duke of the Archipelago. Twenty-one dukes in two dynasties ruled the Archipelago, until 1566; Venetian rule continued in scattered islands of the Aegean until 1714. Under Venetian rule, the island was called by its Italian name, Nasso.

Modern Era

Naxos is a popular tourist destination, with several ruins. It has a number of beaches, such as those at Agia Anna, Agios Prokopios, Alikos, Kastraki, Mikri Vigla, Plaka, and Agios Georgios, most of them near Chora. As other cycladic islands, Naxos is considered a windy place perfect for windsurfing, as well as kitesurfing. There are seven sports clubs in the island that offer both of these sports and other water activities.

Naxos is the most fertile island of the Cyclades. It has a good supply of water in a region where water is usually inadequate. Mount Zeus (1,004 metres or 3,294 feet) is the highest peak in the Cyclades, and tends to trap the clouds, permitting greater rainfall. This has made agriculture an important economic sector with various vegetable and fruit crops as well as cattle breeding, making Naxos the most self-sufficient island in the Cyclades. Naxos is well known within Greece for its cheese, potatoes and Kitron, a local lemon-citrus spirit.







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