Welcome to Naxos!
The most famous monument on Naxos is the Gateway of a Greek temple known as Portara, which stands on a peninsula – originally an island – to one side of the harbour. It is plainly visible from the ships as the visitor arrives at Naxos and gives the first dramatic image of the island.
|This huge monolithic doorway was originally part of a Temple built by the tyrant Lygdamis around 530 BC. This was before the Persian Wars, when Naxos was at the height of its prosperity, and was one of the leading states in Greece.It was built on an island known as Palateia, which was joined to the mainland by Lygdamis by a causeway still in use today. It is a favourite spot for visitors to the island, particularly at sunset.|
Here we see the portal at sunset, silhouetted against the sky
|This is THE photo of the Temple, with the sun sinking into the sea.
This is as one sees it today with the sightseers kept back by fencing
|This is a photo that I took in 2001 before the fencing was erected when everyone tried to be photographed on the huge gateway as the sun was going down|
This is a detailed view of the Gateway taken during the day, with the town seen behind it. Notice the knobs still surviving which show that it was unfinished — they would have been used for lifting the stones into position and would have been removed when the Temple was finally completed.
This gateway is apparently original – it is not a reconstruction by modern archaeologists, as it is shown on a painting of 1724. In the sixth century A.D. a Christian church was built around it, in which it was preserved, and it was only in the early 20th century that the church was removed revealing the somewhat precarious foundations.
|And here is a close-up of the foundations, which don’t look too secure. However they appear to be original, in which case they have borne the gateway securely for at least two and a half millennia|
|This is a view from the other side, showing footings of the Temple as they have been excavated|
|And this is a view from the Temple looking back at the town along the causeway originally built by Lygdamis in the sixth century BC.It is worth double-clicking on this photo to see the details of the town. Both its cathedrals can be seen. To the left is the Orthodox cathedral with its elaborate stepped facade to the roof. The Catholic cathedral, built originally by the Venetians, can just be seen as a square tower on the top of the hill to the right.The hill was fortified by the Venetians, and some of the defensive walls which surround the hill have now been revealed.|
|And this is a photo of me taken by my wife|
|And this is my favourite photo of my wife, in front of the temple, as the sun goes down|