Greece is mainly known for its antique history and monuments. The rest of its history is rather being ignored compared to that. The same is true for Naxos: Most visitors are mainly interested in the temples and marble statues. But Naxos also has to offer many interesting sights from other times. Most noteworthy among these are the many unique and comparatively well preserved byzantine churches.
Many Greek islands claim to have 356 churches: one for every day of the year. On Naxos that might actually be true: The Byzantine churches only count 175. Many of these show very rare Byzantine murals, in a number that is unique in the wider area. Some of the churches are also exceptionally old and often have remained nearly unchanged since their construction, so that they offer valuable information on early or middle Byzantine architecture and art.
Unfortunately many of the Byzantine churches are in a very bad condition and in spite of great efforts so far only a few of them have been restored and protected from further detioration. Also most churches are now locked (for which the visitor should show understanding: In the last years several churches have been robbed and lost not only money but also valuable icons and offerings).
So far I only present some of the churches of Naxos; hopefully over time more will join the list.
The remarkable church of Ágia Kyriakí near Apíranthos is one of the few churches in which murals from the iconoclasm (9th century) have been preserved.
The Byzantine churches of Ágios Geórgios and Ágios Pachómios near Apíranthos date to the 10th century; they too show quite well preserved murals.
The small church of Ágios Panteleímonas in Lakkomérsina near Apíranthos is decorated with remarkable murals from the 13th century.
murals from the 14th century in the church of Ágios Geórgios in Sífones
Here you find more information about and photos of the churches and monasteries of Naxos:
- Panagia Chrysopigi near Apiranthos
- Panagia Drosiani by Moni
- Agia Kyriaki near Apiranthos
- Agios Georgios and Agios Pachomios near Apiranthos
- Agios Panteleimonas bei Lakkomersina
- Agios Joannis and Agios Georgios by Sifones
- Agios Nikolaos at the Troullo (Komiaki)
- The Tower and Monastery of Agia
Here you will find the location of the churches and monasteries at Google Earth.
- Βυζαντινό Πάρκο Τραγαίας Νάξου, Ένας νησιώτικος θρησκευτικός “Μυστράς” στην Κεντρική Νάξο, Γιώργος Ανομερίτης, Εκδόσεις Μίλητος, Αθήνα 2009
- Νάξος, Βυζαντινή τέχνη στην Ελλάδα, Μανώλης Χατζηδάκης, Εκδόσεις Μέλισσα, Αθήνα 1989
- Οι παλαιοχριστιανικές Τοιχογραφίες στη Δροσιανή της Νάξου, Νικόλαος Β. Δρανδάκης, Έκδοση του Ταμείου Αρχαιολογικών Πόρων και Απαλλοτριώσεων, Αθήνα 1988
- Νάξος, Το άλλο κάλλος, Γεώργιος Μαστορόπουλος, Ελληνικές Ομοιογραφικές Εκδόσεις, Αθήνα