Halki (Tragea) Area

The immense paradisiacal olive grove beyond Potamies is called the Tragaia; scattered within ir are 12 little villages and many Byzantine churches. Arcadian walk here are innumerable.

In Halki, right by the bus srop, stands the resrored church of Panagia Prtothroni, whose inscription dates it to 1052, but with parts of the church 500 years older.

It contains many beautiful and historically important wall paintings; some of these, such as the Apostles in the bema, are pre-Iconoclastic (before 725 AD). The Annunciation over the sanctuary is a masterpiece. The 17th-century Grazia tower, the best preserved on Naxos, with the Barozzi coat of arms, overlook the church.

Just past Chalki on the main road, a paved road to the north leads to the village of Moni, with spectacular views over the Halki.

Halfway to Moni, on the right, is the cemetery and church called the Drosiani; The roughly built church, pans of which date from the sixth century contains impressive, wall paintings of greaf antiquity. The iconography of the dome painting, with two facing busts of Christ as a youth and as a mature man in roundels, is unique. Two other small churches near Halki - Agios Georgios Diassoritis and Agios Ioannis also contain splendid old wall paintings.

The views between Halki and Filoti to the south refresh you with the flashing pale green of olive trees as the road winds around Mounr Zeus (Zas), at 1004 metres, the Cyclades' highest mountain.

The ancient Naxians believed that Zeus was born in a great cave halfway up. (While the more accepted birthplace of Zeus is Mount Idi on Crete, this cave of Zeus was a place for prehistoric cult worship.) To walk there, leave the main road above Filoti and climb Mount Zeus's nonhwest slope, passing through a grove of olive trees with a marble cistern. You will see the cave's mouth at the head of a big gorge (8 km from the road), and jusr before the cave, a spring with cold water.