From the nearby village of Gallini a road leads up to the Monastery of the Sublime Virgin, which is known as the Angelakopoulos Tower after the name of its last owner. One of the most notable buildings on the island, it lies not far from the sea in the valley of Engares. Originally, as the marble plaque at the entrance tells us, it was run as a monastery dedicated to the Sublime Virgin by the orthodox priest Iacovos Kokkos (1660). Later, however, the Kokkos family incited the people of Naxos to rise up against the Venetian overlords, but having nowhere else to shelter from the wrath of the foreigners, the instigators of the struggle were forced to barricade themselves inside the monastery. Thus, while it had always had the character of a lookout post to guard against marauding pirates, the monastery now became a fortress in the peasants' uprising.
It consists of an internal courtyard enclosed by stone-rooms and monks' cells on two floors, and the post-Byzantine monastery church on one side of the courtyard. In the southwest corner of the building is a round tower with a loophole for defense. The roof is surrounded by battlements. The ramparts, loop-holes and holes through which boiling oil was poured to defend the building, the circular tower and the small number of openings, all contribute to a feeling of austerity, and looking at the building from the outside it is difficult to imagine that it was a monastery. Returning to the main road back to the Chora, the visitor encounters two other roads leading to the more popular beaches on the west coast of the island.
Quite close to the Chora itself is the beach at Agios Georgios. There are also beaches at Agios Prokopios, which lies on a sheltered bay with a beautiful stretch of sand, Agia Anna, Plaka, Orkos and Mikri Vigla. At Agios Arsenios, or Agersani as the locals call it, there is a monastery built in 1721 and dedicated to St. John the Baptist. Not far away is one of the island's oldest churches, Agios Mamas, which dates from the ninth century and contains some valuable sculptures and wall paintings. Further down the coast lie Kastraki, Alyko, Pyrgaki and finally Agiassos. The Plain of Tragaia, which stretches from Sagri to Agiassos, has been called "Little Mystras" by Byzantine scholars because of the wealth of important Byzantine remains that have been found there. Many churches which not only contain valuable sculptures and wall paintings, but are of interest from an architectural point of view, lie scattered around the area.
On the eastern side of the island, there is a road which follows the coast down from Moutsouna to the south, passing the magnificent beach of Psili Ammos, which is, as its name suggests, boasts fine, golden sand, and ending up at Panormos. Nearby is the site of "Korfari ton Amygdalion", where excavations have revealed the existence of a settlement around 3000 B.C. In a lonely area to the north of Panormos stands the Chimaros Tower, a round marble building dating from the Hellenistic period. The road from Filoti, which passes the tower carries on in a southerly direction to Kalados Bay, a spectacular beach totally sheltered from the winds, and Katomeri, situated at the southernmost tip of the island. Important relics from the Cycladic civilization have been discovered in this area.
Take a quick tour on Naxos island and discover its most impressive features. You may start with the following:
What's new (or old) on Naxos, from our blog articles.