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Naxos Island

Venetian Occupation

Naxos makes history in 1207 when the Venetian Marco Sanudo captured the island''s chief Byzantine castle, T''aparilou, and declared himself Duke of Naxos, ruler over all the adventures who had grabbed the Aegean Islands after the conquest in Constantinopole. When Venice refused to grant Sanudo the independent status he desired, he broke away in 1210 and became the Latin Emperor''s Duke of the Archipelago. Archipelago was the Byzantine name for the Agean; under Sanudo and his successors, it took on the meaning, ''a group of islands'', in this case the Cyclades. Even after the Turkish conquest in 1564 the Dukes of Naxos remained in nominal control of Cyclades, although anwerable to the Sultan.

Ancient History

Away from the port and the more popular beaches, you can go for miles without encountering anyone other than the odd shepherd, and I have often stumbled across mountain villages or modest tavernas shaded by vines perched on a hillside that I have never been able to find again. From the strange moonscape of the high central region round Mount Zas, the highest peak in the Cyclades, to the lovely fertile valley and olive groves of the Tragea, to the sandy beaches along the southern coast, Naxos has something for everyone. Naxos' roots lie deep in mythology - Theseus, on his way back from Crete after slaying the Minotaur in which endeavour he had been helped by Ariadne, daughter of the King of Crete, stopped there and abandoned Ariadne on the island. She took solace in the arms of Dionysus, Greek god of the vine. As you come into port, the first thing you see is a magnificent doorway silhouetted against the sea and skyline. This is all that remains of the unfinished Temple of Apollo, which was begun in 522 BC.