Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The "Door" of Naxos

The "Door" of Naxos, known by the locals as "Portara" is a monument which strikes the visitor upon arrival, since it is near the main island's port; considered to be the emblem of the island of Naxos. Portara means big door, due to its large size. This monument, which has been forgotten by time, is part of the marble gateway of the temple dedicated to God Apollo. 
The temple was built in the 6th century B.C., during the reign of tyrant Lygdamis, when Naxos was a commercial and cultural centre. The actual door is located on top of a very small island, joined to the town of Naxos, given the name Bacchu's island. Today its known as Palatia. 



However, later the Christians used many pieces from the ancient temple. Even the Venetians used part of the temple's marble in order to build the castle, on the top of the city of Naxos. 
According to mythology, Theseus abandoned Ariadne under the Palaces, where later God Dionysus kidnapped her, inspiring countless sculptors, musicians and painters, making Naxos known worldwide. According to tradition the first Dionysian celebrations took place here, due to this event.   

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