Getting To Know About Your Naxos Island Holidays
Naxos Island Holidays
Naxos is an island in Greece that has something to offer to everyone. Whether you are looking for a place to relax, enjoy the sea and the sun, or somebody who wants to see and do as much as possible, or just go to party: Naxos is the greenest and largest of the Cycladic islands and very different from its neighboring islands.
The uniqueness of Naxos is due to its varied landscape. It is an island with imposing mountains, verdant plateaus and valleys, rivers and springs, caves and large sandy beaches backed by sand dunes and cedar trees. It is one of the most visited islands by tourists and island hoppers and consequently has a good infrastructure to support these visitors.
It is not, however, spoiled by tourism as much of the main tourist market is focused only on Naxos Town and its surrounding area. Agriculture and husbandry are still an important aspect of the local economy. According to mythology, the wine God Dionysus came from Naxos, and the ancient Greeks saw proof of this in the fact that it is a lush and fertile island. Because of the rich soil, most people from Naxos are involved with agriculture. There are fishermen, but not as many as on other islands.
Tourism is also a major source of income and especially Scandinavians visit this island. The women of Naxos are famed for their weaving, even though this practice is not so common today. Naxos also has a special kind of sand that is used in making sand paper and it is exported into many countries around the world.
Depending on where you stay, you can either end up in a place with all the facilities you need, or in a village where the pace is much slower.
Many myths in Greece involve Naxos as some point. Zeus, the highest God, was born on Crete, but grew up on Naxos. The people of Naxos used to worship him and a temple was built in his honor on the mountain Za (Zeus).
When mistress Semele died before giving birth to their child, Zeus took the embryo and put it in his thigh. When the baby was born out of Zeus thigh on Naxos, the nymphs Philia, Coronida and Clidi brought him up on the island, which was to be Dionysus favorite island. The God made the island fertile and full of grapevines, forever blessing it.
Another myth is about the daughter of king of Crete, Arianna that helped Theseus kill the Minotaur and out of fear for her father, she fled with the hero. On Naxos she fell asleep, he left her and when Dionysus saw her, he made her his wife. According to another version, she committed suicide by jumping off a cliff in Chora.
Naxos was a centre for the Cyclades islands from 4000 to 1100 BC. The capital has always been Naxos (Chora), but it used to be called Calliopolis, ‘the best city” in ancient years. The island supposedly got its current name after the first ruler: king Naxos, but it has had different names through history: Dia “Zeus”, Stroggyli “round” and Dionysias. It held tights bonds with Santorini and Halkida and together they founded the colony Naxos on Sicily in 734 BC.
The island was well known for the sculptures that were made here. One of the best known works are the group of lions on Delos.
In 501 BC Naxos was threatened by the Persians but managed to keep them away. Eleven years later the Persians succeeded in invading the island. In 479 BC Naxos became a member of the Delian League but left it in 466 BC. The island became a vassal state to Athens until the city was defeated by the Spartans during the Peloponnesian War.
Naxos was to fall under many great states; once again under the Athenians, then the Macedonians, after that the Egyptians and finally it fell under Rhodes’ power. In 41 BC the island was conquered by the Romans.
When the Venetians invaded the Cyclades islands in Greece, Naxos fought for forty days at the Byzantine castro Apalyrou, but the islanders were finally defeated and was made center for the The Aegean Duchy under the Venetian Marcus Sanudos in 1207. The duke himself made a strong fortress and the Venetian rule lasted for 300 years. In 1564 the island was invaded by the Turks, but they basically just collected taxes from then on. The Venetian Rule was to be the main rule, which can be seen in the fact that there still are quite a few Catholics on the island. In May 1821 Naxos was liberated.