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Naxos Naxos is the largest island ( 428 km² ;) in the Cyclades island group in the Aegean Sea, which separates Greece and Turkey. The island was the center of archaic Cycladic culture, then part of classical Greek culture and is part of Greece today. It is a popular tourist destination, with easily accessible ruins. One set of ruins is what is left of a temple built on a rocky beach. Long ago there was an earthquake sending most of the temple into the sea. Still standing however are two columns with a single lintel across them. The remains of the structure resting in the sea can be seen from the shore and explored by swimmers.
Naxos has many very beautiful beaches, like the ones at Agia Anna, Agios Prokopios, Alikos, Castraki, Mikri Vigla, Plaka and Agios Georgios at Hora, the capital of the island, which has 7,000 inhabitants.
Naxos is famous as the most fertile island of the Cyclades. It has a good supply of water, in an area where water is usually inadequate. Mount Zas ("Zeus", 1004 meters) is the highest peak in the Aegean Sea, and it tends to trap the clouds, permitting greater rainfall.
Homer mentions Naxos under the name "Dia" still the "island of the Goddess." According to mythology, in the Heroic Age before the Trojan War, on this island Theseus had abandoned Ariadne, daughter of Minos, king of Crete, after she helped him kill the Minotaur and escape from the Labyrinth. Dionysus, god of the island and protector of wine, festivities and the primal energy of life, met her and fell in love with her. But Ariadne, unable to bear the separation from Theseus, killed herself.
Revolt of Naxos
In 502 BC the inhabitants of Naxos rebelled against their masters in the Persian Empire; this revolt led into the larger Ionian Revolt that incited the Persian War between Greece and Persia.
Greek and Byzantine Naxos
During the 8th and 7th centuries BCE, Naxos dominated a wide commerce in the Cyclades. ( more text to come)
The Dukes of Naxos
In the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade, with a Latin Emperor under the influence of the Venetians established at Constantinople, the Venetian Marco Sanudo conquered the island and soon captured and the rest of the islands of the Cyclades, establishing himself as Duke of Naxia, or Duke of the Archipelago. Twenty-one dukes in two dynasties ruled the Archipelago, until 1566; Venetian rule continued in scattered islands of the Aegean until 1714.
More detailed history of this phase of Naxos' history is at the entry
Duchy of the Archipelago.
Ottoman Naxos, 1564 - 1821
The Ottoman administration remained essentially in the hands of the familiar island Venetians: the Porte's concern was satisfied in the returns of taxes. Very few Turks ever settled on Naxos, and Turkish influence on the island is slight. The Turkish sovereignty lasted until 1821, when the islands revolted; Naxos finally became a member of the Greek state in 1832.
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