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Naxos Sightseeing - Naxos Archaeological Sites

Archaeological Museum of Naxos


The Archeological Museum of Naxos houses works of art and objects of every day use dating from the Late Neolithic period to Early Christian times (5300 BC - 5th c. AD). These finds came to light in the excavations which have been continuing on the island since the Second World War.

Naxos is the largest and most important of the Cyclades, a rich island with a natural environment suitable for the development of farming and stock-raising. It is also an island with good natural harbors, a circumstance which has contributed much to its strong continuous cultural presence in Greece from the end of the 4th millennium BC to the present day.

Naxos first flourished during Early Cycladic II period (about 2700 - 2300 BC), during which, along with the small nearby islets, it evolved into one of the most important commercial and cultural centers of the period. During the later phases of the Bronze Age, there were a variety of changes and upheavals in the Aegean which resulted in new centers rising to prominence on other islands (Thera, Milos, Paros) and Naxos lost its leading position in the Aegean.

The Archaeological Museum building, which has been declared a historical monument, was built in the period from 1600 to 1800, and is an impressive example of the architecture that developed on Naxos at the time of the island's prosperity during Frankish period. It is a five-storey structure and was built on the course of the Frankish fortification wall, incorporating two of the towers. It was designed to house a school of Jesuits, founded in the 17th c., and ultimately, in the late 19th c. - early 20th c., housed the famous commercial school, one of the pupils at which was Nikos Kazantzakis. It was later made over to the Archaeological Service and has been used to house the Museum since 1973.

Some of the most important exhibits of the Museum are:

Clay rhyton (ritual vase for libations) of animal shape. Dated to the Early Cycladic period (3200-2300 BC).

Marble vase. Dated to the Early Cycladic period (3200-2300 BC).

Early cycladic vases from the island of Epano Koufonisi (first half of the 3rd millennium BC).

Early Cycladic vases decorated with incised decoration from the islands of Epano and Kato Koufonisi (3200-2300 BC).

Early Cycladic pyxis of marble and schist from the cemetery at Aplomata (2800-2300 BC).

Early Cycladic marble figurine from Keros (2800-2300 BC).

Mycenaean stirrup jar from the chamber tomb cemetery at Aplomata decorated after the octopus style (12th century BC).

Mycenaean stirrup jar from the chamber tomb cemetery at Aplomata decorated after the octopus style (12th century BC).

Mycenaean strainer hydria (jug) from the chamber tomb cemetery at Kamini decorated with a scene of circular dance (12th century BC).

Four gold plaques from a rich child burial at the cemetery at Kamini depicting the dead child. Dated to the Late Mycenaean period (12th century BC).

Geometric amphora dated to the first half of the 8th century BC.

Gold jewellery from cist tombs at Tsikalario and Chora dated to the Geometric period (9th-8th century BC).

Torso of a naxian kouros. Dated to the second half of the 6th century BC.

Detail of a mosaic floor from Aplomata depicting a Nereid on a bull. Dated to the roman period.


Opening hours
Tickets

From 1st July until 31 October: Monday closed
Tuesday - Sunday: 08:00 - 19:30

Tickets
Full: 3, Reduced: 2

Telephone

+30-22850-22725


Iria


A sacred place of the Aegean with uninterrupted life and function from the 14th century B.C. up to our times. It is the cradle of the Ionic order of the monumental Greek architecture.
The sancturay of Iria has been located (1982), investigated (1986-1996) and presented to the public (1992-1996) by the University of Athens in collaboration with the Polytechnical School of Munich, with the financial support of both Universities as well as the Ministry of Culture (research) and the Ministry of Aegean (presentation).

The religious function of the Iria sanctuary at Livadhi, Naxos, dates back , to prehistoric times (1300 B.C.) and the use of the site for religious purposes continues, uninterrupted, until today. Its importance is attested not only by splendid architectural finds, but also by the numerous votive offerings dedicated to the deity worshipped in the sanctuary during all its long history, but especially during the earlier periods.

The importance of the buildings discovered at Iria is so great that scientific discussion on the subject has taken a central place in international archaeological bibliography and in handbooks on ancient architecture.

The worship on the site has had a brilliantly testified and uninterrupted sequence (worship of Dionysos in antiquity and of the relative St. George later on). This sequence supports in a vivid way all other evidence that bears witness to a cultural continuity at Naxos, since 1500 B.C. onwards.


Opening hours
Tickets

Open-air site. Permanently open.

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Telephone

+30-22850-22725


Sangri


At the site of Gyroulas in the large and fertile central plateau of Naxos a most important archaic temple came to light. It is of the telesterion type, that is, with a hypostyle hall for the celebration of the mysteries. The building is datable to the time of the tyrant of Naxos, Lygdamis (ca. 530 B.C.) and was part of his ambitious building programme, comparable to that of his Athenian friend Peisistratos. A better known example of this project is the big temple of Apollo on the tiny island in the harbour of Naxos (the "Portara" on Palatia). The Gyroulas temple is rectangular in plan, with a row of Ionic columns in the interior dividing the cella into two aisles. Two corresponding monumental doorways open into the south long side of the cella (wide facade arrangement) with an Ionic pronaos of the five columns forming the facade.

The great significance of this find is that it is a rare example of a marble temple of which more than 50 % of the ancient building material is preserved. This, together with its early date and the site chosen for the building, provides an endless source of information about ancient architecture. The temple gives unique information about ancient architecture. The temple gives unique information about the construction of the marble roof, about the early forms of the Ionic order, and about the curves and optical corrections similar to those observable in the Parthenon, but here a century earlier. It introduces constructions that are recognized as forerunners of classical Attic architecture. The temple is one of the few buildings of the ancient word (and of the few in Greece) that are preserved so fully and it is thus a visual source of information for the wider public. The temple at Sangri greatly complements the archaeological presentation of Iria: it is better and more fully preserved, and its forms, while monumental, are the simpler forms of a "rural" region by comparison to the more "urban" architecture of Iria. Finally, it provides evidence for the creative evolution of Ionic architecture.

The temple of Gyroulas is the only well preserved, and its forms of a "rural" region by comparison to the more "urban" architecture of Iria. Finally, it provides evidence for the creative evolution of Ionic architecture.

The temple of Gyroulas is the telesterion, designed expressly for the celebration of the mysteries. Well preserved also is a phase of its Christian period, when it was converted into a basilica.



Opening hours
Tickets

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Telephone

+30-22850-22725


Grotta
 

The first inhabitants of Naxos considered being Thracians that dominated two hundred years in the island. Later, came the Kares. They came from Asia Minor having as their leader Naxos who gave his name to the island.

Archeological finds we have from the end of the 4th millennium B.C. The 3rd millennium B.C., Naxos presents a big population to the west of the island. At Panormos were found earnests of their civilization. In the town of Naxos was found a developed built-up-area with square houses and tiled roofs.

More finds there are in relation to the cemeteries of the region. Many graves are masterpieces of art and date back to the 3rd millennium B.C.

There were found also earthen and marble vessels and marble statuettes of the prehistoric era.

After the end of the Cycladic civilization flourishes to the same place the marble material. Afterwards, about the 2nd millennium B.C. when it is developed the Mycenaean civilization, falls the Cycladic. When in 1400 B.C. Crete retires, Naxos helps to the spreading of the Mycenaean civilization to the East.

Naxos' population is transferred to the northwest in the main Greece. So, it is created the town of Grotta about at 1000 B.C.

The 7th century B.C., it was created a society with rich people who lived, up on the hill where today is the Castle of Chora. The people had been living from agriculture, cattle, fishery and commerce. At 734 B.C. gives its fleet to Chalkida for sending settlers to the West and in return gives its name to one from the new towns. So, it arises Naxos, in Sicily. Many battles took place against the island around and particularly, against Paros. At one of them, it was killed the great poet of Paros, Arhilohos.

The worship in the religious centre of Delos affected Naxos. The old buildings and the most important offerings in Delos, come from Naxos. The municipality of Naxos dedicates valuable monuments to Apollo of Delos, as the Sphinx. The marble is a plentiful material in Naxos and it is extracted in Delos for the large labours. For the final smoothing of these labours it is used the emery, principal product of Naxos.

In Naxos we find male and feminine nude statues as: Artemis of the National museum (about 650 B.C.), the marble Apollo in Delos, the huge lions in Delos as also the two Kouros in Melanes and Dionysus in Apolonas with length of 10 metres. The most important building in the sacred island is the house of the Naxos' people.

Days-hours
Open-air site. Permanently open.
Telephone
+30-210-3310280 - 3310966

 

Panaghia Drosiane


The church is near the village of Moni in the area of Tragaia, Naxos. It is an Early Christian, tri-apsidal church with a dome. Three single-room chapels are incorporated along the northern side. The interior wall surfaces have wall paintings of various phases. The earliest layer of wall paintings, which dates to the end of the 6th and beginning of the 7th centuries has been revealed in the dome, the sanctum and in the northern apse. The latest layer on both dome and apse is datable to the 13th and 14th centuries; it has been removed from the wall.

The church was probably originally the Katholikon of the Monastery. Later on, information about the Drosiane is given by the Duke of the Aegean Sea, Ioannes IV Crispos (1555) and others. In addition, benedictory inscriptions of the 6th and 7th centuries are preserved on the walls.

The church was restored in 1964. Cleaning of the wall paintings and removal of the most recent layers has been carried out over the years 1964 - 1971.

Days-hours
Daily open
Telephone
+30-2850-31003

Panaghia Protothrone


In its present day form, the church is of the transitional inscribed cross type with dome. Preserved in the semi-circular apse of the sanctum is the synthronon (clergy seats). The western part of the church includes the narthex with the chapel of St. Akindynos on the north side and to the south a vaulted rectangular space. On the inner walls are five layers of decoration belonging to the Early Christian, middle Byzantine and late Byzantine periods.

Architecturally the church is among the earliest churches of transitional type and is dated in the first half of the 9th century. Some architectural members are preserved from the Early Christian period providing evidence that the building was originally a basilica. Epigraphical evidence shows that the church was restored in 1052. There is also an inscription in the chapel of St. Akindynos mentioning the year 1056. Later repairs and alterations are mentioned in inscriptions of the 16th and 17th centuries. Patriarchal sigillia of the 16th century refer also to the church of the Protothrone with the chapels St. Georgios and St. Akindynos.

The wall paintings underwent restoration in 1970-1972. Wall paintings were discovered in the south vault of the church and the removal of wall paintings in the dome revealed an earlier layer of paintings.

The church of the Panaghia Protothrone continues in use today as a consecrated Orthodox Christian church.

Days-hours
Daily open
Telephone
+30 22850 31003

Pyrgos Chimarrou


This is one of the most important monuments of Naxos, and, like the gate of the archaic temple of Apollo, known as Portara, a trade mark of the island. The monument is situated on the southeastern side of the island, half way between Zas, the highest mountain of Naxos, and the sea, on a hill between two ravines, Heimarros to the east and Petronia to the west.

Similar towers have a wide distribution in the Aegean, but in the majority of cases only the foundations are still visible. The tower oh Heimarros is a very rare exception, standing to the impressive height of almost 15 m. It is better preserved externally, whereas internally large parts of the masonry have fallen or are about to collapse. The rare of destruction seems to have accelerated in recent years, a fact immediately discernible in photographs taken in the early 70s and in earlier descriptions: according to an archaeological report of 1923 the height of the tower was 17 m.

The tower has a circular plan; its external diameter is 9.20m. and the internal 7.12m. The walls have a thickness of 1.10m., they are made of local marble, without the use of mortar, and they are double faced. The high quality of the ancient masonry is evident. The outer face consists of rectangular blocks ranging in length between 0.35m. and 0.40m. Masons' marks are visible on some stones: Λ, V, O.

The stones forming the inner face of the wall are quite irregular in size, and are chiseled only on their horizontal sides. On the south side there is a door and straight above it, 10m. from the ground, on the level of the second floor, there is a window. The only other openings are some waterspouts and loopholes, which from the outside appear as mere narrow slits, widening inside to facilitate the movements of archers.

The tower was internally divided into four floors above the ground and their position can be inferred from the preserved beam holes. To the left of the entrance a staircase, with marble steps embedded in the wall, leads clockwise to the upper floors. The lower steps are missing and have obviously been removed, and from then on only those leading to the threshold of the second floor remain in place. Bearing in mind, however, the similar tower of Aghios Petros in Andros, one must assume the existence of marble steps leading to the upper floor as well. The top of the tower has fallen away, and although there is no evidence yet, some scholars assume that the roof would have been flat and probably surrounded by battlements.

The tower stands within an almost square enclosed wall, measuring about 35m. on each side. It is better preserved in the south and most of the western and eastern sides, whereas parts of the northern side have been incorporated in later constructions. The wall is 1m. thick, reaching 2m. in height and its outer face is built with rectangular stones of various sizes. The whole of the internal and a large part of the outer face is covered by drift earth and is therefore invisible. No towers or other subsidiary buildings have been noted.

Ticket

Free admission

Visiting hours

Open-air site - Permanently open

Telephone
Museum of Naxos +30-2850-22.725

Tower of Glezos (Chora of Naxos)


Border tower protecting the fortress (Castro) of Sanoudos in Chora, Naxos. The wall surrounding the fortress is pentagonal and has three gates. The Glezos tower (Krispi) stands near the northwestern gate and extends in part along the western and northern side of the fortress (Castro). It has four levels (floors) and it is the only tower in Naxos that has also a round tower attached to it.

In 1207 Frankish rule was established in the Aegean. The Venetian Markos II Sanoudos built the fortress of Chora in Naxos with circuit towers, one of which, the Glezos tower (Crispi) is still preserved. Over the main entrance to the tower is the coat-of arms of the Crispi family.

The tower has been given by Mr. Petros Glezos to the Archaeological Service, which plans to use it as a museum. When the necessary work has been finished, this will be the first Byzantine Museum in the Cyclades.

In 1968-1969 the Glezos tower was restored. In 1968 the tower was stabilized both inside and out, and the wall construction reinforced. In 1995 work was begun on restoring the tower to serve as a museum. Name of the monument: The Fortress (Castro) of Chora, Naxos, and the Glezos Tower (Crispi).



Opening hours
Tickets

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Telephone

+30 22850 22525

source: culture.gr