Naxos guide


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Naxos (disambiguation).
The city of Naxos
Coordinates 37°5′N 25°28′E
Archipelago Cyclades
Area 429.785 km2(165.9409 sq mi)
Highest elevation 1,003 m (3,291 ft)
Highest point Mt. Zeus
Region South Aegean
Regional unit Naxos
Capital city Naxos (city)
Population 18,188 (as of 2001)
Density 42 /km2 (109 /sq mi)

Naxos (pron.: /ˈnæksɒs/; in Greek, Νάξος, pronounced [ˈnaksos]) is a Greek island, the largest island (429 km2 (166 sq mi)) in the Cyclades island group in the Aegean. It was the centre of archaic Cycladic culture.

The island comprises the two municipalities of Naxos and Drymalia. The largest town and capital of the island is Chora or Naxos City, with 6,533 inhabitants (2001 census). The main villages are Filoti, Apiranthos, Vivlos, Agios Arsenios, Koronos and Glinado.

Naxos is a popular tourist destination, with several easily accessible 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. 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 (1003 metres) 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 also known within Greece for its potatoes.



[edit]Mythic Naxos

Demeter Temple

According to Greek mythology, the young Zeus was raised in a cave on Mt. Zas (“Zas” meaning “Zeus“). Homer mentions “Dia“; literally the sacred island “of the Goddess”. Karl Kerenyi explains (speaking as if he were an ancient Greek):

This name, Dia, which means ‘heavenly’ or ‘divine’, was applied to several small craggy islands in our [Aegean] sea, all of them lying close to larger islands, such as Crete or Naxos. The name “Dia” was even transferred to the island of Naxos itself, since it was more widely supposed than any other to have been the nuptial isle of Dionysus. (Kerenyi 1951 pp. 271–272)

One legend has it that in the Heroic Age before the Trojan WarTheseus abandoned the princess Ariadne of Crete 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). The Naxos portion of the Ariadne myth is also told in the Richard Strauss opera Ariadne auf Naxos.

The giant brothers Otus and Ephialtes figure in at least two Naxos myths: in one, Artemis bought the abandonment of a siege they laid against the gods, by offering to live on Naxos as Otus’s lover; in another, the brothers had actually settled Naxos.



Zas-cave inhabited by the neolithic contained objects of stone from Melos and copper objects including a dagger and gold sheet. The presence of gold and other found objects within the cave indicated to researchers a status of the inhabitant. [1]

Emery was sourced during the time to other islands. [2]

[edit]Classical Naxos

Apollo Temple’s entrance (“Portara”)

During the 8th and 7th centuries BC, Naxos dominated commerce in the Cyclades. Naxos was the first Greek City-State to attempt to leave from 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.

[edit]Revolt of Naxos

Herodotus describes Naxos circa 500 BC as the most prosperous Greek island.[3]

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.

[edit]Naxos in the Middle Ages

Main article: Aegean Sea (theme)

[edit]The Dukes of Naxos

Further information: Duchy of the Archipelago

Coat of Arms ofDuchy of Naxos

The Duchy of Naxos and states ofMorea, carved from the Byzantine Empire, as they were in 1265 (William R. Shepherd,Historical Atlas, 1911)

The Church of Panagia Argokiliotissa

City Hall

Panoramic view of Naxos (city)

The Venetian castle (“Crispi Tower”).

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, establishing himself as 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.

[edit]Ottoman Naxos (1564–1821)

The Ottoman administration remained essentially in the hands of the Venetians; the Porte’s concern was satisfied by the returns of taxes. Very few Turks ever settled on Naxos, and Turkish influence on the island is slight. Under Ottoman rule the island was known as TurkishNakşa. Ottoman sovereignty lasted until 1821, when the islands revolted; Naxos finally became a member of the Greek state in 1832.

[edit]Historical population

Year Island population Change
1981 14,037
1991 14,838 +801/+5.71%
2001 18,188 +3,350/+22.58%

[edit]Notable people

[edit]See also


  • Kerenyi, Karl 1951. The Gods of the Greeks.
  • Agelarakis A., “The Naxos Island Archaic Period Necropolis: Archaeological-Anthropology Research Report, Hellenic Antiquities Authority, Archival Report, 2005, Naxos.
  1. ^ P Halstead – Neolithic Society in Greece Continuum International Publishing Group, 1999 Retrieved 2012-07-04 ISBN 1850758247
  2. ^ M Patton – Islands In Time: Island Sociogeography and Mediterranean Prehistory Psychology Press, 23 Jul 1996 Retrieved 2012-07-04 ISBN 0415126592
  3. ^ Herodotus, 5.28,5.31

[edit]External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Naxos

37°5′00″N 25°28′00″E


Islands of the Cyclades

Articles on the Aegean Sea