An introduction to the island of Naxos would not be complete if we did not go back to the island's interesting mythical history. If you were asked how you imagined the place where Zeus, the father of the 12 ancient Greek gods, was raised, chances are your reply would include the following: fertile, imposing, exuding primeval majesty. If you were asked what you imagined to be the dominant features on the island where Dionysus, the god of merriment, was born and raised, you would probably include fun, song and dance. If, finally, you were asked how you imagined the scene of the wedding of Dionysus and princess Ariadne, you would probably respond, “Enchanting, almost magical…” This is Naxos. A big island in the heart of the Aegean Sea and its sea routes, with imposing mountain massifs and fertile valleys, inhabited by cheerful people with a tradition in music and dance, and full of beauty that enchants visitors. With its long history, important monuments and intense tourist life, it occupies a distinct place among the Cycladic islands. No matter how many days you stay on Naxos, there will always surely be more hidden niches to discover, beaches you haven’t seen, towers and forts you did not have time to visit, ancient temples whose secrets remain a mystery.
The cultural heritage and tradition on Naxos Island thrives today with the rich traditions of the past continue until today. Naxos has always nurtured a lively relationship between man and art, ever since the first statuettes, the first vessels and the first creations in marble by known and unknown technicians in the Proto-Cycladic period (3200-2000 BC). Temples and sanctuaries, citadels, mansions and humble folk houses were mingled into the indissoluble web of time together with traditional crafts, such as weaving, wood carving, iconography etc. Alongside, music, song, feasting and dance gave an outlet to joy, the sorrows and the dreams of the people of Naxos, leaving an invaluable legacy to modern researchers.
Visitors to Naxos are sure to experience many of these customs and traditions as the cultural heritage and tradition on Naxos continues today, especially during the holidays and special events that take place throughout the year.
The geography and nature of Naxos offers an authenticity, richness and simplicity that is an experience to discover and explore. The island is marked by great variety: mountains with ravines, caves and gullies shade verdant valleys with olive, fig, orange, lemon trees and vineyards, abundant waters. Nikos Kazantzakis, Greece’s foremost 20th century writer, once wrote about the time he spent as a teenager in Naxos’ fertile valley of Eggares: “If paradise was on Earth, it would be here.”
The valleys end at smooth, sandy beaches adorned with juniper and tamarisk trees; villages are surrounded by fields and vegetable gardens; migratory birds find refuge on trees, while wild pigeons and swifts in the inaccessible coastal rocks. Protected biotopes with rare fauna and flora complete the mosaic of an island that offers the visitor all the lavish gifts of nature. The seabed surrounding Naxos also offers another, exciting world, with marine ecosystems of astounding beauty, huge variety, reefs and rocks full of life, meadows of Posidonia oceanica with colorful plates and reefs. Just choose your route, either on or off shore, and abandon yourself to the magic of Naxos’ geography and nature. The thrill is there for you to discover and experience throughout the year.
With information from www.naxos.gr