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Naxos in mythology

Naxos plays an important role in Greek mythology, if only because the Crete-born Zeus grew up on Naxos. The inhabitants of Naxos worshipped Zeus on Mount Zas, which means "Zeus. Naxos is otherwise primarily the island of Dionysos (Bacchus to the Romans) and Ariadne.

Dionysos was a son of Zeus and his beloved Semele, the daughter of Kadmos, king of Thebes, and later goddess of the earth. Dionysos, god of wine, was born on Mount Zas and was raised in secret by a number of nymphs in the cave of Koronos. In gratitude, Dionysos gave Naxos fertility, the fruits of which Naxos still literally reaps today.

Dionysus later fell in love with Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos of Crete, who had helped the hero Theseus defeat the Minotaur, half man half beast. When Theseus left Ariadne on Naxos, Dionysus seized his chance and eventually married Ariadne, who was deeply disappointed in Theseus.

Furthermore, the ancient Greeks placed the fertile Naxos under the protection of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture.

Religious buildings on Naxos

Naxos has more than 500 religious buildings, including monasteries, village churches and chapels. All these buildings, new ones are still being built, are named after saints who each have their own name day. On such a name day a big feast, a "panigiri" is held.

Naxos Town is the seat of a Greek Orthodox diocese and of a Roman Catholic archdiocese.


-Agia Anna: church on the beach.


-Agios Panteleimon: 13th century church with equally old paintings.


-Agios Stéfanos Frarón: early-christian basilica


-Panagia tis Apirathitissas: 18th century church

-Agios Kiriaki Kalonís: Byzantine church of natural stone with remains of 9th century aniconic frescoes.

-Agios Pachómios: 13th century church with beautiful murals.

-Agios Georgios: 11th century (?) church in not so nice condition.


-Moni Christos Fotodoti: Oldest, best preserved tower monastery on Naxos. Beautiful iconostasis and marble columns.

-Agios Pachomios: Byzantine church, one of the oldest on Naxos.


-Agios Ioannis: church

-Agios Eustathios: chapel

-Panagia tis Filotissas: church with an iconostasis of white marble and beautiful icons.


-Agios Ioannis: chapel with a double aspis, one Catholic and one Greek Orthodox.


-Ipsilotera: fortress-like monastery dating from 1660, not surprisingly it was built by the nobleman Iakovos Kokkos in his struggle against the threat of Frankish rule.

-Koimisis tis Theotokou of Panagia Attaliotissa: 9th century church.


-Panagia Protothrone: important church dedicated to Mary from the 9th century and one of the oldest cross-domed churches on Naxos. Inside the church is also the Agios Akindynos chapel with wall paintings from different medieval periods.

-Panagia Theosképasti en Agios Spyridon: double church.

-Agios Giorgios Diassoritis: Church from the 11th century with beautiful almost intact wall frescoes.

-Agios Damniotissa:Church from the 11th century with beautiful wall frescoes.

-Agios Isídoros: ruins of 6th-7th century basilica


-Agios Ioannis Theologos Keramiou: with 13th century fragments of paintings.

-Agia Apostoli: ca. 11th century church with fragments of 12-13th century paintings.


-Agios Artemios: basilica with three naves.

-Agios Dimitrios: monastry.


-Panagia Argokiliotissa: A new church is now being built on the site of this old church.


-Agios Ioannis Theologos Adisarou: 9th century church, decorated with aniconic paintings.

-Agias Georgios en Nikolaos Lathrinou: two adjacent chapels with interesting remnants of 13th century paintings.


-Profitis Ilias Vlacháki: church with unusual flat roof and 13 century murals.


-Agios Isidoris: 13th century church, lavishly decorated with 14th century paintings

-Agios Georgios Melánon


-Agia Anastassia: church.

-Faneromeni: monastery.


-Panagia Drossiani: One of the oldest Christian churches, in fact more a complex of chapels. of Europe from the late 6th - early 7th century. One of the most important Byzantine churches in the Balkans, with domes of fieldstones and frescoes from the 7th and 8th centuries.


-Panagia Mirtidiotissa.

-Panagia Vlacherniotissa: oldest church in the capital with beautiful icons and a sculpted iconostasis.

-Ipapandi: baroque Catholic cathedral of the 13th century in the square of the Venetian kastro and built by Duke Marco Sanudo. The floor is made of Naxos marble. Most Catholics live in the district where the 'kastro' is located.

-Zoodochos Pigi (ca. 1787): Greek Orthodox cathedral with fine interior , including frescoes, icons and an 18th century iconostasis of carved marble.

-Agios Ioannis Chryssostomos: Monastery from the 17th century, located on the Grotta coast.

-Panagia Theosképasti: small church with two beautiful 14th century icons.

-Profitias Ilias: ca. 13th century with two magnificent 15th century icons of Angelos of Crete.

-Agios Antónios: Church built in 1452.

-Agios Ioannis Prodromos: whitewashed chapel with a number of 15th century paintings.


-Agios Matthaios: Church built on an early Christian basilica.


-Agios Mamas: one of the oldest churches on Naxos (9th century), dedicated to the patron saint of shepherds.

-Agios Georgios: Church with many 13th century paintings.


-Agios Artémios: 9th century.

-Agios Elefterios: abandoned monastery.

-Agios Ioannis Theologos Avlonítsas: 11-13th century paintings.

-Agios Ioannis Giroulas: hapel located in the Temple of Demeter.

-Agios Nikolaos: 10-13th century Byzantine church with a number of wall frescoes.

-Agios Kaloritissa: 9th-13th century church built in a cave.

-Metamorfosis: Byzantine chapel.

-Panagia Arkouliotissa:


-Agios Ioannis en Agios Georgios: double 11th century church.


-Agios Stéfanos: Church with fragments of 13th century paintings.


-Agios Ioannis Theologos Kaknadou: with 13th century paintings.


-Agios Konstantínos: with early 14th century paintings.

-Moni Panagias Chozoviotissas: high Byzantine monastery with in its library collection a number of manuscripts from antiquity, a wooden iconostasis and further rare icons and frescoes.

-Agios Sozon Kalantou: small Byzantine church on the south coast of Naxos, built into the rocks.

-Panagia Arión: ruins of 11th century church in the Ariés valley, with 13th century murals on the exterior of the church.



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Last updated May 2024
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