Far from the mass tourism that invaded most of the Cyclades, Naxos stands as a genuine Greek island proud of its historical lineage with ancient Greece, the Byzantium empire, the Venetian republic, and the Ottoman empire.
As most of the Cyclades were answering the call of the leisure industry in the 70’s, the farmers and inhabitants of Naxos refused to sell their land that benefited from a rich network of natural springs that provided them with great harvest. Still today different types of traditional wells and fountains are found in every village and symbolize the “independence” of Naxos. Hence, Naxos is an island that managed to keep its identity and that welcomes foreigners who can enjoy a genuine Greek experience far from the “All you can eat” industry and frenzy night clubs.
When arriving in Naxos you can see the “Gate of Naxos” (Portara of Naxos) on the hill above the port of Chora and have a glimpse of its ancient Greek history. The “Gate of Naxos” is the remain of the temple of Apollo facing the sea and proudly standing as a corridor between past and present. One of the highlights of its rich History was when its people sided with Athens, then under the command of Themistocles, against Persia at the battle of Salamis in 480 BC and when they later joined the league of Delos, still against Persia.
Walking on the island, you will discover archeological treasures lost in the wilderness such as the Temple of Demeter, the Goddess of Harvest, or some beautifully preserved early Christian/Byzantium churches hidden between hills covered with thousands of olive trees.
Also, when climbing to the top of Mount Zeus with an outstanding view on the Aegean Sea, it is easy to envision Greek triremes heading to Athens or the sails of a remote roman commercial boat gently approaching the shore awaiting to deliver its load of garum or wine from the Peloponnese.
Then, when it will finally be the time to leave and take the ferry back to the “real world”, two questions will spark to your mind:
“Why do I Leave?” and “When will I be Back?”