King of the Cyclades, Naxos
Posted on February 28, 2013 by sguese
According to Greek mythology, Theseus abandoned Ariadne on the island of Naxos. Ariadne didn’t seem to mind as she took up with Dionysus, god of wine and ecstasy. It would seem she got the better end o
f the deal. Myths aside, Dionysus is still the Greek island of Naxos’ favorite deity. Producer of olives, grapes, figs, citrus fruit, potatoes and corn, Naxos has both the romanticism of legends and the fruits of the land. From the old footpaths in between villages to Mt. Zeus, the highest peak in the Cyclades, Naxos could be the cure for anyone’s broken heart like it was for Ariadne.
Villages Lost in Time: Part of the appeal of Naxos stems from its picturesque villages which are easily accessible with car hire in Naxos. Halki is no exception, located in the heart of the Tragaea plain of olive groves. Covered in Byzantine churches, the town is also known for its handsome villas and citron liqueur, kitron.
Head for the Caves: Naxos is home to a number of caves worth exploring for their appearance and mythology. The Cave of Zeus represents a large natural cavern at the foot of a cliff on the slopes of Mt. Zeus. In order to reach this mythological wonder, you must hike at least three kilometers. The Cave of Zeus is somewhat easier to reach from Filoti. Travelers also should fin the Bazeos Cave. While not a cave per say, the tower like building was built in its original form as a Monastery of Timios Starvros during the 17th century. Just two kilometers east of the village of Sangri, Bazeos Cave was abandoned by the early 19th century. However, it was refurbished to show off its late medieval rooms.
Sample the Good Stuff at the Vallindras Distillery: Located in the village of Halki’s, the Vallindras Distillery sets up in the town’s main square. While Halki is worth a visit on its own, most come to sample the good stuff, kitron. The Vallindras Distillery still distills kitron the old fashioned way. Free tours are offered of the atmospheric rooms where ancient jars and copper stills are kept.
Feel small after gazing at Kouros: Kouros is a gargantuan 6th century B.C. male statue. It is hard not to be belittled here. Kouros sit in an ancient marble quarry on the north coast of Naxos. The 10.5-meter statue is believed to represent Dionysus.
Experience the heavenly Panagia Drosiani: Panagia Drosiani is heavenly in more ways than one. Just below Moni, Panagia Drosiani is one of the oldest and most revered churches in all of Greece. Travelers come here to explore its warren of cave like chapels and frescoes dating back to the 7th century.
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