• Flourishing civilizations since the 4th millennium BC

    with flourishing civilizations

    since the 4th millennium BC

  • Demeter's Temple

    impressive monuments

    that recently came to light

  • The museum at Apeiranthos village

    with finds

    of the early cycladic period

  • Faneromeni monastery

    monasteries and churches

    of historic and architectural importance

  • Development of modern Naxos

    bringing naxos

    to its glorious present

PREHISTORIC TIMES

Naxos goes a long way back, with various civilizations flourishing on the island since the 4th millennium BC and it is speculated that the first inhabitants emigrated from Thraki (Thrace), the northeastern region of Greece.

According to the myth, while seeking women companions, King Voreas’s son, Voutis, arrived in central Greece, at the region of Thessaly, whereupon he pursued and abducted several of the Bacchae nymphs and brought them to Naxos. The nymphs included Koronis and Iphimedia.

Prehistoric times on Naxos

The earliest settlements on the island date to the Neolithic era and according to Archaeological finds, they indicate a developed society toward the end of that period.

For 200 years the Thracians dominated the island and were succeeded by the Carians who were led by Naxos and hailed from Asia Minor. Naxos, their leader, is who the island is named after.

Although much older elements from the Homeric era survive in characteristic idioms still spoken on Naxos today, the first important period of civilization on Naxos is the Cycladic, in the 3rd millennium BC. Through the various sites found and resulting digs, there is evidence that the island was densely populated by small settlements spread on its eastern side.

One such characteristic hamlet of the Cycladic era has been discovered near Panormos, at the Korfari position in Amygdalies.

However, at Grotta, where main town Chora is today, there was a larger and better developed settlement, that had carefully constructed houses. Numerous pottery items that were used, have been discovered. In virtually in all the tombs at the cemeteries of the era throughout the island, masterpieces of art and style have been found.

Due to all these factors and from archaeological research, Naxos appears to be one of the most important centers of the Proto-Cycladic civilization. So persuasive is this evidence that archaeologists when referring to particular aspects or phases of this period signify locations with particular names that characterize their importance and relevance.

For instance, when we refer to the local civilization of Grotta-Louros, we are in fact referring to the Proto-Cycladic I phase (3200-2800 BC), e.g. the “Louros-type” idols from the Louros cemetery in the Sagri area.

Naxos was a powerful trade and commerce centre and as such had its own navy. In 734 BC the island offered its navy to the city state of Chalkis (today’s Chalkida on the island of Euboea), to transport colonists to Sicily. In fact, one of the first Greek colonies was named Naxos. Even today there are villages in Sicily where one can distinguish ancient Greek dialects.

As a rule, archaeological finds from the Mycenean and Geometric eras, are highly aesthetic, in particular the ceramic items. Prime examples are the gigantic Kouroi statues of Naxos which lie unfinished at the two ancient and now disused marble quarries of Melanes and Apollonas. It is not known why these statues were abandoned and subsequently, it is speculated that they may have been so due for a variety of reasons. The statue of Artemis is another famous find also dating to this era. Others are the Sphinx of Delphi, the famous Lions statues, the House of Naxians and a large number of votive offerings at the sanctuary of Delos and other prominent sanctuaries.

It is believed that the plastic arts (clay hand-craft) were born on Naxos. Large-scale plastic arts showing all the elements of the monumental developed in Greece during the Archaic period. This fact, combined with the small-scale plastic art (idols) developed during the 3rd millennium, contributed to this assumption. Another factor is probably the abundance of marble. Emery, mined until the 1950’s is a Naxian product, was also used in the final stages of polishing marble works from ancient times.

Naxian craftsmen were much sought after and apparently demanded high fees which contributed to their wealth. Some even donated large and costly works of theirs to the gods. This may have also been a factor that led to the rise of the monumental form that influenced the entire Greek architecture, particularly that of the Ionian school of marble sculptors.

During the 7th century, the formation of an oligarchic society took place which was ruled by sizeable and powerful nobility. They lived mainly on the hill of present-day Kastro in Chora, or were spread out in the various medium-size towns of Naxos Island. The majority of the populace was engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing and hand-crafts.

The highlights of Naxos

The beaches of Naxos

The secluding beaches of Naxos

More than 30 beaches !!!

Yes, it is true. The island of Naxos offers the greatest variety of beaches you could ever hope to find & endless opportunities for explorations.

The villages of Naxos

The traditional villages of Naxos

Traditional or modern Naxos villages, inhabited or abandoned, one thing is for sure, you won't ever get bored.

The various activities

Naxos activities

A wide variety of activities during your holiday

Taste new experiences during your holiday on Naxos. You may enjoy surfing, walking, snorkelling, sailing, horseback riding, cooking and so many more ...

Family holidays on Naxos

Naxos holidays

Naxos is mostly a family destination. It is ideal for families with small children.

Top Naxos Beaches Photos

The best beaches of Naxos
Naxos.net friends have selected the most wonderful photos of Naxos beaches. Have fun ...
The historical periods of Naxos
Prehistoric times on Naxos
Naxos goes a long way back, with various civilizations flourishing on the island since the 4th millennium BC and it is speculated that the first inhabitants ...
The classical period of history of Naxos
Naxos’ importance and influence declined in the Classical age as did for most of the islands. In the face of the Persian invasion in 490 BC, Naxians adopted ...
Byzantine times on Naxos
With the rise of Rome, after 41 BC, Naxos was part of the Roman province of the islands which was governed from Rhodes. The Romans often utilized the island ...
Venetian history of Naxos
Venetian rule of Naxos took place between 1207 and 1537. Around 1207 AD, the Venetian Marco Sanudo landed with his men at Agiassos and after a siege ...
The history of Naxos during Ottoman occupation
Turkish rule of Naxos lasted from 1537 to 1829 when Naxos joined the modern Greek state. The Turks chose not to colonize Naxos and the other ...
The history of Naxos during modern times
True to feudal society, Naxian society was divided into three classes: the feudal lords and “masters” who lived in mansions, the peasants ...

the best of naxos

What's new (or old) on Naxos, from our blog articles.