NAXOS



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Naxos - CENTRAL AND SOUTHWESTERN NAXOS - ii.Chora - potamia - epano Kastro/tsikalario - Chalki - filoti - general

Central and southwestern Naxos
FOUR ITINERARIES: see map (Chora = 0.0km for distances in text.)

Chora—Potamiá—Epano Kastro/Tsikalarió—
Chalkí—Filóti (20km)
The valley of Potamia is the confluence of several springs, and its upper reach is a sequence of burgeoning orchards, mills and plane-trees. The village itself straggles almost 2km down-stream from the main spring at Ano Potamia. Coming from the port, the village begins as the valley firstbegins to narrow at Kato Potamia, 7.5km southeast of Chora. At this point, the church of Aghios Giorgios (C), with large areas of 13th century painting, lies just to the north of the road. To the south of the same point, a road descends, crosses the watercourse, and continues south wards as a rough track for a further 2km as far as the impressive ruined church of *Aghios Mamas, or of the ‘Pan aghia Theoskepasti’(6). This is one of the most romantic ruins in Naxos , lying in a fertile valley, surrounded by mountains on the horizon: the summit at Epano Kastro is visible through the collapsed eastern vault.

   When it was built in the 10th century, this was one of the largest and most important churches on the island, and may at one point have been the seat of the Metropolitan in the 11th and 12th centuries. The dedication to St Mamas, who was the protector of shepherds, is appropriate to the deeply rural set ting far from the sight and ravages of pirates. The church is of an elegant and spacious, domed, cross-in-square design. There are finely carved fragments of 5th century bc, marble cornice with palmette design, visible over the south door, and immured to north and south of the sanctuary. Other pieces of Ancient masonry and some Early Christian mullions suggest that the building had predecessors on the site or in the area. The belfry and double-vaulted narthex were added probably in the 13th or 14th century—the latter entered either from the church or from a doorway-like aperture in the west wall which is almost impractically high because of the steeply sloping terrain. Above the church to the west is an impressive abandoned house, with fine gateway and cistern.

Between Mesi Potamia and Ano Potamia (10.5km), in stead of following the road, it is particularly worth navigating the network of paths that border the stream bed. The route runs through orchards of pomegranate trees, small weirs, and at one point passes the 16th century ‘pyrgos’ and mill-house of the Venetian Cocco family which, although abandoned, still preserves its beautifully carved door-frames. The mill-machinery is also still in situ. At Ano Potamia, a spring of excellent water flows year round and is the origin of the dense vegetation of the valley. Beside it is one of the best tavernas on Naxos .



Naxos Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.


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access

Naxos Island, Greece.

By boat:
Naxos has on average two or three connections per day throughout the year to Piraeus, and one or two each day to Rafina; the services all take cars, and the journey time typically varies between 4.25 hours (Hellenic Seaways Highspeed & NEL lines) and 5.5 hours (Blue Star Ferries). Nearly all services stop at Paros en route.
There are daily connections south to Ios and Santorini in the summer, either by ferry or Flying Dolphin: this reduces considerably in the winter to twice weekly.
The Express Skopelitis leaves Naxos at 3 pm every day for the Lesser Cyclades Islands, weather permitting.
By air:
Olympic Air currently runs one daily return flight from Athens to Naxos , with small craft only (c. 30 seats). The airport is 3.5km from Chora.

Naxos Travel Guide

eating

Naxos Island, Greece.

Of the myriad tavernas on the harbour front at Chora, the freshest fish and seafood is to be had at the minuscule, "To Steki tou Valetta", where excellent octopus and wine are served.
Of quite different character—elegant and with some carefully designed dishes—is Elli"s restaurant in the Grotta area of Chora.
For beachside eating, just outside Chora, Paradiso at Aghia Anna has good food, served at tables under trees on the sands.
One of the best of all fish restaurants on the island outside Chora is Michalakos at Moutsouna. For its setting by springs in the village of Ano Potamiá, the taverna Pigi is a joy—very popular with locals on Sundays.
Katsalis, under the plane trees in Filoti, is also to be recommended.
And for making a picnic from the best Naxiot wine and produce, the Tziblakis cheese shop on the main Papavasileiou Street in Chora is still excellent—even if in recent years the shop has become more self-conscious than before.

Naxos Travel Guide

further reading

Naxos Island, Greece.

Theodore Bent, The Cyclades (1885), reissued 2002 by Archaeopress, Oxford in the ‘3rd Guides’ series. For an excellent documentation of Byzantine Naxos , Giorgios Mastoro poulos, Νάξος, το ἄλλο κάλλος/ Naxos : Byzantine Monuments, Athens, 1996, cannot be bettered.

Naxos Travel Guide

lodging

Naxos Island, Greece.

For its size and importance, Naxos is poorly provided with good accommodations, outside the resort hotels.
The Chateau Zevgoli in the heart of the bourgo is the most charming place in Naxos, although its name promises more than it delivers and the rooms are small and over decorated (T. 22850 25201, fax 25200). The owner, Mrs Despina Kitini, also possesses a couple of spacious studio rooms up in the Kastro, which represent a good alternative: she can be found at the useful ‘Naxos Information Center’ which she manages, opposite the main ferry quay.
Karabatsi Studios, at Aghia Anna offer friendly, family hospitality of utter simplicity, at a short distance from the Chora (T. 22850 26440, www. dinaNaxos.com).
Of the resort hotels, Lianos Village at Aghios Prokopios, is comfort able and unpretentious (T. 22850 26366, fax 26362, www.lianosvillage.com).

Naxos Travel Guide

practical info

Naxos Island, Greece.

843 00 02
Naxos : area 389 sq.km
perimeter 133km
resident population 17,357
max. altitude 999m.
Port Authority: T. 22850 22300 & 23939.
Tourist information: Zas Travel (T. 22850 23330, fax 23419)

Naxos Travel Guide

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