In Greek myth, god Apollo, worshipped with special affection by Naxiots, left on the island of Naxos his son Aristaios, who was an excellent cheese maker, to teach the islanders the art of cheese making.
Although tens of centuries have passed since then, Naxos, being an island blessed with fertile plains, abundant water resources, mountains with rich vegetation and endless grazing lands, is still characterized by a particularly developed livestock sector and produces some of the best-known Greek cheeses.
Together with other islands of the Cyclades, Naxos has a long tradition in cow milk cheeses dating back to the rule of the Venetians and their catholic governors who were the first to introduce such foods and their production method to the islands. In the 16th century, the Cyclades were the only region in Greece where dairy cows roamed on its fields, and thus, the inhabitants of these islands were put early on the right track to master the art of cow milk cheese making.
Nowadays, more than 10,000 cows graze on the land of Naxos while there are more than 100,000 free-ranging sheep and goats mostly on the island’s mountainous part, accounting for an annual production of 1,500 tonnes of cheese.
Music, dancing with traditional costumes, songs, arts, feasts and festivals are part of the Naxian daily life. The island is famous all over Greece for its rich musical tradition and there are important composers/musicians from Naxos, including Konitopouleoi, Fyrogenides, Stamatonanolides, Vrontogiorgides, Koukoularides, Hatzopouloi. “Kotsakia” (folk poems of two or eight verses that were created... Read more
This is the highest peak of Naxos, usually covered with clouds and named Myti of Za (Nose of Zeus). It has namely the name of Zeus and maybe this was also its name in the antiquity, as they used to worship the father of gods on this very mountain. The archaic inscription carved on a rock in the path that leads to the top of the mountain says “Oros Dios Milosiou” (Mountain of Zeus of Milon), which... Read more
The small wetlands, salt marshes and dunes of Naxos are a haven for birds, fish and reptiles. The most important wetland is that of Alyki which comprises a large lake southwest of the airport runway. It is the largest salt lake in the Cyclades and retains enough water. The vegetation includes reeds, aquatic plants and clumps of cedar trees. 166 bird species have been observed and it is enlisted in the protected... Read more
This is a very important castle, built on a steep hill in the fields of Sangri and Agiassos. According to researchers, it took its name after the abundant “apaliries”, a kind of bush that sprouts there. It was erected in the first years of the Byzantine era, though probably there was already a fortification in the antiquity, because part of the wall is prehistoric. It was abandoned in the 13th... Read more
Today about 30 towers are preserved in the countryside of the island. They have been built by feudal Venetians in particular (and other Latin nobles) who used them as a base to exploit the real estate of the field they held. Their defensive line included battlements, murder holes, turrets, huge doors and small windows to protect the defenders. They were made of stone and had many floors and thick walls. Bazeos... Read more
Gardoumia is a special meze from lamb intestines that is made on the island of Naxos, just like in Crete; besides, the strong connections between the two islands are well-known. Meze holds a special place in the Greek culinary tradition and could be described as an appetizer, a treat to share with friends in a relaxed environment. Gardoumia is a popular dish among mountain and pastoral farming/shepherds’... Read more