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Naxos Island  
 >>  About Naxos  >>  History
  • Abandoned church close to Kinidaros lakes
  • The leg of Kouros statue at Melanes village
  • Castle of Naxos town (Chora)
  • Temple fo Iria close to St. Anna beach
  • Mill at the central mountainous area of Naxos
  • Old bridge close to the lakes of Kinidaros

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Dionysus, Semeli, Theseus, Ariadne, Nymphs, tyrants, conquerors, pirates and sovereigns are heroes, whose traces are scattered throughout the space-time of the island of Naxos!

Naxos has been inhabited since the 4th millennium B.C.!

According to Greek mythology, god Dionysus, who incarnated the beneficial forces of nature and was an expression of joy and amusement, was born in Naxos, where he then married Ariadne after her abandonment by Theseus.

Naxos was the capital of the “Duchy of Aeagean Sea”, established by the Venetian Marcos Sanoudos during the latin domination
in the 13th century.

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The importance of Naxos has been not only primary, in the long historical period, but also modulus in the history, not only of Cycladic but also of the wider Greek Territory. Naxos was always famous for the vast quantity of exported marbles,the emery, the many sources,the full of trees gardens, the beauty of the plains,the olive groves, the orange groves, the lemon groves, the citrons, the vines and the famous wine, the livestock-farming and cheeses but also for salt! At the same time, because the sea "isolates", the island remained genuine, unusual, different and self-sufficient. Pindaros calls Naxos "liparan" and Herodotus affirms that “Naxos efdaimoni ton nison proefere” that is to say “Naxos, outclassed more blessed than the other islands”. Archilohos of Paros compared the wine of Naxos with the nectar that gods drink.

God Dionysus is mainly connected with Naxos, who incarnated the beneficial forces of nature. He was born and raised in Naxos where he married Ariadne afterwards her abandonment by Thiseas. Her marriage with the god and her death, that foreboded resurrection, were celebrated intensely on the island because it was associated with the maturation and the regeneration of Nature.

Naxos inhabited in the 4th millennium B.C. hitherto constantly. The study of toponym certifies that Naxos was never depopulated by the residents, unlike the other islands in Aegean Sea. This fit for all the areas of the island, for coasts and for mountains and valleys. Ffrom the ancient years until today, live basically the same people, who obviously regroup, having the power to assimilate foreigners, that occasionally, peacefully or by force of arms set in the island. The island has always had an organisation, concerned with the conditions of production and reproduction of life.

It is worth remembering names of some sites which constitute an undeniable evidence for settlements or for adorations of heroes or gods that could not be there today; if the island was depopulated, residents were lost, and other replaced them at a particular point of time.

The highest peak of Naxos is named Myti(nose) of Za, that is to say, bears the name of the father of gods and humans for ancients, and it would have, perhaps, the same name in the antiquity, because there worshiped Zeus at the time . Also, that is shown by an inscription on a marble crude volume in the path leading to the top of the mountain"Zeus Milosios - the protector of sheep". The inscription defines the limits of the dedicated temenos to the great god.

In the northeast edge of the island, a cove is named Apollonas and seems that was named this way in the ancient times, because there was found an inscription delimiting a temple dedicated to the god of light. Apollo was related particularly with Naxos and was worshiped as Tragos, Anthokomis or Poimnios.

Southeast is situated Panermos, a reported port in an ancient inscription with the same article and almost the same type, "Panormos". Two seaside locations are named Orkos and also Orkos Sand, because were used as "olkos" (water chutes) in the antiquity, namely as places suitable for the hauling up of boats. The village Melanes is reported in an ancient inscription as "Melan" and the villages Halkei and Keramei in the ancient years should be workshops for copper’s craftsman and ceramists. Arsos at Aperathou, is “alson”, that is to say woody temple, dedicated to deities or nymphs. Again at Aperathou, Dimos, is a place that its name testifies the existence of an appreciable settlement in the antiquity, and Afikli, shows a holy place, dedicated to the hero Ifiklea, uterine brother of Hercules. Finally, the name of the village Skado, relates with “ishades”, figs, so much tasty for ancient people.

Thracians considered to be the first inhabitants of Naxos. Voutis, the son of Voreas, inhabited at first,. While he was looking to find women for his companions, arrived in Thessaly, where he chased Vakhes and between other women he stole Koronida and Ifimdeia and brought them to Naxos. According to tradition, Thracians dominated in the island for two hundred years. Carians succeeded them. They came from Asia Minor headed by Naxos who imposed his name to the island.

Plastic art and, presumably, architecture set up in Naxos. In the linguistic styles of the island, survived and are used characters from the years of Homer. Byzantium did not end with the fall of Constantinople in 1204 by the armies of the Forth Crusade, in Naxos, neither with the conquest of Cyclades, in 1207, by the Venetian Mark Sanoudos or the establishment of the Latin Hegemony, with its capital Naxos. The residents, in this new colonial-style society, maintained “habits”, which emanated from the laws of Byzantine Empire, and evolved merging with the newcomers institutions from the West, in order to form the famous customary law of island. At the same time, through the ecclesiastical tradition, the inhabitants of the island continued the Byzantium.

In 1536-66 began the period of the Ottoman domination. However Turkish was not set in, except for a few, on the island: they were interested only in collecting taxes. But Latin Domination will keep up until the Greek Revolution of 1821.

One culture after the other. Each new culture, in its effort to prevail by dismantling the previous, used the same materials, borrowed elements and adopted attitudes. And thus each culture continues to exist until today. Naxos constitutes a concrete example.

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