Byzantine Monuments

In Naxos, Churches that were built during the Byzantine period, between the 6th and the 15th century, where scattered in plains, plateaus and massifs. The Byzantine Churches of Naxos are many and it will take you quite a few days to visit them all. In the area of Tragea the number of Churches is so great that it was rightly named as the Mistras of the Cyclades. The churches are made of stone and they are characterized by their small size in the simple shape.

The types found on the island are usually: simple aisleless domed churches, barrel - vaulted churches. Single or twin, small free - cross domed churches, cross - in square domed churches, etc.

The paintings that decorate the churches are very interesting. Although they have a provincial character they are characterized by their variety and their quite high artistic level. The abstract decoration of some churches is also very remarkable. The themes of the decoration include geometrical patterns and animals and are linked to the iconomachy period. In this point we should note that during the Venetian rule orthodox churches continued to be built a especially during the second half of the 13th and the first half of the 14th centuries. You can get a small idea of Byzantine Naxos by visiting the following Churches.

Church of Panagia Drosiani:
In the heart of Naxos, on the road from Chalki towards Moni, you will find one of the most remarkable churches of the island, Panagia Drosiani. The church dates from the 6th Century and it is probably the first Christian building of Naxos, as it is decorated with rare wall paintings of the 8th Century. The most characteristic one is Panagia Nikopios, where Madonna and Jesus are being portrayed together. Madonna's face stands out for its delicate and idealist beauty.

Church of Panagia Protothroni in Chalki
In Chalki you will find an important sample of Byzantine architecture, with successive coats of wall paintings from the 19th - 10th centuries and the 12th - 13th Centuries, as well as Panagia Protothronos. According to the experts the church dates back to the 9th - 10th Centuries and it is built on top of an ancient temple.
It is worth visiting as well Aghioi Apostoloi Metochi (Chalki), Aghios Ioannis Theologos in Kerami, Panagia Damiotissa in Kaloxylos and Aghios Georgios Diasoritis near Chalki.

Church of Aghia Kiriaki In Apeiranthos
The two - aisled church of Aghia Kiriaki with the 9th century abstract decoration is situated at the end of an old stone - paved path.

Church of Aghios Mamandas
It is situated near kato Sangri. It is a cross - in - square a domed church, with remarkable interior sculptures. It dates back to the 2th half of the 10th century. A carved inscription relates the church to Bishop Leon.

Church of Panagia Archatos
The church is in the area of Achatos. It is a two - aisled cross - shaped church. The preserved wall paintings are dates back to the 13th Century.

Monastery of Christ Fotodotis
It is worth visiting the monastery of Christ Fotodotis in Danakos situated in the mountains. From there you can survey the mountains Zas and the eastern coasts of the island. There are many versions concerning who was its establisher. Some people say that it was built by a Byzantine princess, and others believe that it was established by the empress Irini or her sun Alexios Komninos in the 12th century when he came victorious from an expedition.

Agios Georgios in Iria
It was constructed in the 11th century with materials that were coming from the archaic temple of Dionysus. It is a cross - in - square domed church.

Zoodochos Pigi ( The orthodox Cathedral)
The church is situated in the area of Grotta, and it was built in 1780. Inside the church you will admire old icons from the age of Turkish occupation, the carved wooden icon screen, a remarkable archbishop's throne and an old Gospel, which according to tradition is a gift from the Empress of Russian, Aikaterini the Great (1774).

The Catholic Cathedral
The Catholic Cathedral is now dedicated to the Hypapante. It is a church that has undergone many changes and extensions during the past eight centuries. Above the entrance you can see four coats of arms, among them that of Marco Sanudo. Inside the Church you will find the impressive bilateral icon of Panagia Eleoussa (12th century) and Saint John the Baptist. The floor is covered with interesting medieval tombs with coats of arms of eminent archipelagos families.

Bazeos castle- Monastery of Timios Stavros ( Holy Cross)
(Built around 1600 and was running as the monastery of Timios Stavros until the early 19th Century, when it was deserted by the last monks and became property of the newly established Greek state. At the end of the 19th century it was bought by Basegio Family, to whom it belongs until today. Since 2000 the tower is being used fro the organization of various exhibitions, while the Festival of Naxos is housed in the yard from July to September, with music concert, theatrical performances and cultural events.