The wood-fired bakery of Velonis in Naxos
Velonis Bakery (O Fournos tou Veloni) in the Chora of Naxos gives a courageous battle against developing trends and is one of those few bakeries left still making bread, delighting locals and travellers with the splendid smell of freshly baked bread spreading all around the neighbourhood.
Wood-fired bakeries are becoming more and more scarce on the islands of the Cyclades.
Little by little, the taste of the fluffy loaf of bread is vanishing.
The people behind bread making, the bakers, are also gradually becoming extinct together with their values and behaviour, synonym of another era.
Daily interaction with customers had forged a true sense of humanitarian behaviour in them and made them wiser.
“The store which has been operating as a bakery since 1922 was sold to my father in 1950 against 15,000 Greek drachmas. Fire was lit with brushwood – everyone was using brushwood at the time – that was then carried into the over to heat the stones. It was in 1955 that my father turned the oven into a wood-lit one. Being a baker is no easy job; bakers turn night into day. Don’t be fooled by what you see now in the summer that the restaurants are open and the tourists are here; in winter, we have difficulty winning our bread”, says kyr Nikos Velonis (kyr, added before the name of an old men, is a way to salute or address him in a respectful way, informal word).
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