Naxos History

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Naxos History
Greece Naxos Island Naxos History – Historical Information about Naxos Island, Greece

Naxos History Guide - Information about the History of Naxos Greece

Much of Naxos’ early history is based on Greek mythology. Zeus, the head of the Olympian gods, was born in Crete but was raised in Naxos and became the protector of the island. As a sign of adoration and respect, the inhabitants of the island named its highest mountain, Zas, after the Olympian god. Zeus fell in love with Semele, the daughter of the king of Thebes, who got pregnant with Zeus’ child, but died before she could give birth. Zeus took the unborn child, placed it into his thigh, and eventually the Olympian god Dionysus was born.

Meanwhile, Ariadne had fallen in love with the mythological hero Theseus and helped him to kill the Minotaur in Crete. After Theseus promised to take Ariadne with him, they left for Athens together, but during a short stop on Naxos Island, Theseus abandoned Ariadne and left for Athens on his own. When she woke, she was furious and asked the gods to take revenge on Theseus. Instead, Dionysus appeared and married Ariadne. To honor Dionysus and Ariadne, every year the inhabitants of Naxos hold a music, art and athletic festival called the “Dionysia”.

It is believed that the first inhabitants of Naxos were the Careans from Thrace and it was their leader that gave the island its name. Later, during the rule of King Minos, the Cretans arrived on the island. As the Mycenaeans gained power in Mainland Greece, they also spread to the islands and in particular to Naxos, where significant Mycenaean sites have been discovered.

The Persian Empire was the worst enemy of Naxos, against which many battles were fought. After the great Greek – Persian War, Naxos was the first island to come under Athenian rule. Later, it became part of the Empire of Alexander the Great and then part of the Roman Empire. During that period the island was the target of countless pirate raids.

As Christianity spread throughout Greece, it eventually reached Naxos. In the Byzantine Era, Naxos was a prominent island of great strategic and commercial value. During the Fourth Crusade in the early 13th century, the island was under Venetian occupation and the Duke Marcos Sanudos was the ruler of Naxos. He was responsible for the construction of the many Venetian castles and manors that are seen today.

From the mid 14th century to 1830, the Turks had control of Naxos, except for a short period from 1770 to 1774, when the island was controlled by the Russians. In 1830, Naxos became part of the newly founded Greek State.

Naxos is now one of the most popular vacation destinations in Greece and is host to thousands of visitors every year.

Accommodation : Rest of Naxos
naxos agia anna hotels | naxos agios arsenios hotels | naxos agios prokopios stelida | naxos apollonas hotels | naxos chora naxos town | eggares hotels

Accommodation : Rest of Cyclades Islands
amorgos hotels | andros hotels | antiparos hotels | donoussa hotels | ios hotels | kea tzia hotels | koufonisia hotels | milos hotels | mykonos hotels | naxos hotels | paros hotels | santorini hotels | schinoussa hotels | serifos hotels | syros hotels | tinos hotels

Accommodation : Rest of Greece
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Many thanks to photographer Sophia Glabedaki (tel: + 30 210 4629592) and to Issaias Bros Ltd (+30 210 9581706)
for granting us the use of several photos presented in the section.