- PORTARA – ENTRANCE OF THE TEMPLE OF APOLLO (CHORA)
Portara, a huge marble gate and the single remaining part of an unfinished temple of Apollo of 530 BC, is Naxos’s emblem and main landmark. Standing on the islet of Palatia, at the entrance to Naxos harbor, it comprises four marble parts weighing about 20 tons each.
Its construction was initiated by the tyrant Lygdamis in the 6th century BC, according to the specifications of the temples of Olympic Zeus in Athens and of the goddess Hera on Samos. It measured 59m in length and 28m in width, and its entrance was on the western side –an unusual feature for an Ionian-style temple.
The monumental gate seen today, which led from the vestibule to the main part of the temple, lies amidst traces of its foundations and those of a peripheral colonnade that was never completed.
An arched Christian church was built on the ruins in the 6th or 7th century.
The islet of Palatia has been associated with the worship of Ariadne –a Cretan princess- and Dionysus, the god of wine and merriment. Because, according to mythology, Dionysus abducted the princess at the beachside of Palatia, the islet is considered the place where Dionysian festivities were first held.
Portara today is connected with the Naxos mainland via a paved footpath. The spot offers one of the most enchanting sunsets in Greece.
- ANCIENT TOWN -MYCENEAN TIMES RUINS- (GROTA)
- UNFINISHED KOUROS (KASTRAKI APOLLONAS)
The Kouros of Apollonas is a reference point of the island. The impressive marble statue, symbol of the village of Apollonas and Naxos, and worths a visit.
The Kouros of Apollonas is estimated that it was created at the 6th century BC and its length exceeds 10 m, is “lying” at the entrance of the ancient quarry area and impresses the visitors because of its volume. According to scholars, the statues represents either the god Apollonas or the god Dionysus. It is estimated that the giant statue was left at the entrance of the quarry because it broke during transport, or why the order was canceled, or why the order was not paid.
Visiting the Kouros of Apollonas
The Kouros of Apollo is accessible to visitors every day of the year and all hours, because it is outdoors.
- ANCIENT MARBLE QUARRIES (EMPOLI APOLLONAS)
- RUINS OF MYCENEAN TOMBS (EGGARES)
- UNFINISHED KOUROS (FTELIO KINIDAROS)
- TEMPLE OF APOLLO AND DIMITRA (SAGRI)
In the village of Sangri, a region rich in monasteries, castles and ancient monuments, is the Temple of Dimitra, or else the Sanctuary of Giroylas.
Location:The site is located in the village Sangri in the center of the island, a few kilometers from Halki village and 11 km far from Chora.
History:The Temple of Dimitra, or the Sanctuary of Gyroyla, as it is known, is one of the most important monuments of the Ionic period and the precursor of the Parthenon. It is estimated that it has built around 520 BC and according to the inscriptions found, there worshiped Dimitra and Kori.
It is made of white marble, has a square shape and at the front and inside there were marble columns.
The restoration was a difficult task for archaeologists because the 6th century AD, over the Sanctuary a Christian church was built and parts of the church.
- TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS (KERAMOTI)
The Temple of Artemis was the largest temple of ancient times and was the first building made entirely of marble. It was built about 550 B.C., although the foundation of the building dates back to the 7th century B.C. Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo, the god of t.ruth and love.
The temple was decorated with bronze statues sculpted only by the most skilled artists of their time: Phidias, Polycleitus, Kresilas, and Phradmon. Built on a platform measuring 430 feet by 259 feet, the rectangular temple was larger than the Parthenon in Athens that measured 366 by 170 feet. The huge roof was supported by over 120 elaborately carved columns. Each column consisted of about 12 cylindrical blocks of marble that were raised into place with pulleys and placed on top of one another to form a column. There was also a room that sheltered a magnificent statue of Artemis. She was the goddess of the forest and the goddess of fertility.
On the night of 21 July, 356 B.C. , a man named Herostratus burned the temple to the ground in order to have his name immortalized in history. He did indeed. That same night Alexander the Great was born. Eventually it was rebuilt by Alexander the Great who conquered Ephesus. The reconstructed temple lasted for many years but was looted by Goths and then flooded. By A.D. 262 the temple was destroyed beyond repair. If you go to the site today you will find that one column is still standing and traces of the foundation and road can still be seen.
- ANCIENT TOWER OF CHIMARROS
Chimarros Tower at Filoti is considered one of the important ancient monuments of the island. Built on a hilltop by the Kalantos road, it is named after two streams (chimarros in Greek) that defined the area’s east and west.
Researchers believe the tower dates back to the late 4th century BC and view it as a fine example of Hellenistic-era defense-related architecture.
Constructed with huge marble boulders, it was circular and its original height measured approximately 20m with a 9.2m diameter at its base. It consisted of four levels connected by a marble staircase and was surrounded by a square wall measuring 35m in length at each flank.
Today, the tower’s exterior remains preserved in considerably good condition, standing at a slightly reduced height of approximately 15m. Large sections of its interior have either collapsed or are dilapidated.
Parts of the walling at the perimeter still remain, as do remains of constructions that once stood within the property. Some of them were olive mills.
As is also the case with other similar fortified towers in the Cyclades, the precise purpose and usage of Chimarros Tower is not clear. Purposes varied depending on eras and locations. Some research suggests that Chimarros stood as a base for a small military unit and also served as a hideout for the area’s residents along with their livestock. According to another view, it served as a transmission point for messages in the form of fire or smoke to other similar towers on Naxos and neighboring islands
Chimarros Tower is 14km from Filoti, on the road south to Kalantos.
In the region of Iria, we find the sanctuary of Dionysus, which is considered by historians as the precursor of the Parthenon. The important archaeological site can be visited.
Location: The Temple of Dionysus is located in Iria, a few minutes away from the village of Agios Arsenios and about 10 km from Chora
History: In the Sanctuary of Dionysos you will see the marble columns sculptured in the 6th century BC. Below the archaeological site of Iria, found findings and other temples. According to historical data, the cult in this area began in the 14th century BC and the next years were made in the same spot four other churches. The first temple was destroyed by a river that existed in the region. And the next temples were destroyed by flooding for this reason, the sancturay of Dionysus was outdoors. The last temple, built in 550 BC, was destroyed by the Christians in order to build in the same place a christian church. This, took place in 2nd century AD, but the church was destroyed by flood again. So, several years later, inhabitats took the marble pieces of the destroyed temple and used them as a building material to built the Church of Agios Georgios.
Parts of the Sanctuary were found in the nearby village, called Glinado, and in the sea. In the archaeological site of Iria was found a statue of the god Dionysus, exposed today in the Archaeological Museum of Chora.
A unique momment to visit Iria is during the full moon of August, where site is open to the public.
Access to archaeological site can be done either by car or by bus to Agios Arsenios. The sanctuary is 15 minutes away from the village