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Venetian Towers in Naxos island

On your tour to the island of Naxos, you will find many scattered Venetian castles, part of the cultural heritage left by Venetians.

There are towers worth to visit up and to admire their stone building with the unique style that combines the western and the Cycladic architecture, with turrets and battlements, and the marble reliefs on the facades that will mentally transport you to another era.

Naxos is the only Greek island with so many towers. Most towers of the island designated as "Venetian" or "Medieval" and most have built during the Ottoman period and not, as it is said, in the era of the Duchy of the Aegean Sea (1207 - 1566).



Divided into three main categories:

  • Those which were parts of the fortifications of the castle with a defensive nature,
  • towers-houses that were usually lords' resorts, with outbuildings around them (stores, bakeries, stables, presses) and
  • in Towers-monasteries which were Orthodox monasteries in the form of a tower to effectively deal with pirates.

You will find most Venetian towers on the mainland of the island, in fertile areas, without having visual contact with the sea. Close to several of them, Catholic in the past - nowadays Orthodox monasteries have been built around them.

 

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The major Towers of Naxos:

  • Della Rocca Barozzi Tower in the castle of Chora (See Venetian Museum)

  • Crispi - Glezos Tower in the castle of Chora. It is one of the 12 or 9 or 7 towers were built around the castle, and survives in its original form. The tower is also known as Aperathitissas Tower, which, in accordance with newer views, was built in the 15th century.
    Today it houses the Byzantine Museum, after its donation by Glezos family to the Archaeological Association.
    Its entrance is after Trani Porta inside the castle. The impressive escutcheon of Barozzi (crown, sword, feather and medals) adorns the lintel of the entrance, while the escutcheon of Crispi (three lozenges, decorated with vine leaves) adorns the lintel of the internal door that is leading to the great hall of the tower.
    The hall of the castle is impressive and the view from the terrace is unique, enabling direct supervision of a possible risk.
    Original owners were Crispi, and later it belonged to the property of the governor of Vlachia, Fragopoulos or Agas. Then, it passed to the property of the great interpreter of Sublime Porte Barozzi, with the ultimate owner P. Glezos.

  • Bazeos Tower or Monastery of the Holy Cross in Sangri. The castle-monastery is within walking distance from the town (12 km of the road to the interior of the island). The original building was built around the 12th century, passing into the hands of the Venetians after 1207 and then again in 1554 at the Orthodox Church.
    Over the years, it was fortified to repel the pirates, taking the current tower shape during 17th century. After its dissolution, in 1833, by Bavarians Decree and towards the end of the 19th century, it was taken by Bazeos Family (Basegio).
    Since 2000, it is used as a cultural center, hosting exhibitions, 
    theater performances, concerts and other cultural events.

  • Phragkopoulos Tower - Della Roca in Kourounochori (Melanes). It is one of the oldest castles on the island with its existence to be testified by the 14th century.
    According to tradition, in this region, Duke Nicolo dalle Carceti was murdered by Crispo, in 1383.

  • Gratsia - Barozzi - Fragopoulos Tower at Chalki. The stately tower belonged to Barozzi family, one of the "strongest" in Naxos.

  • Chimarros Tower, southeast of the island and of Zeus Mount, close to Klidi area.
    The tower of Chimarros is still a benchmark for Naxos. At the impressive well preserved defensive construction of the fourth century BC, the circular tower, with a height of 15 m, dominates the area. It is built with a double wall made of local marble. The entrance is on the south side and the single window is at a height of 10 m. Inside, can be noticed the ground floor and the three floors, linked by a marble staircase. It was used as an observation place and the narrow loopholes recall the defensive character of the building. 
  • Old-Tower of Plaka between Tripodes village and the beach of Plaka. It is an ancient Greek tower, which probably belongs to the Mycenaean period.

  • Tower - Monastery of Highest in Galini. It is an orthodox castle-monastery, probably built in 1620 by the Orthodox family of Kokos, who were violent opponents of Frankish feudalism under Turkish rule, contributing, by their struggles, to its gradual abolition. It is one of the strongest fortresses in the island, fortified with loopholes and scalding bowl to fear the pirates. 
    The monastery is located in the Angelopoulos Tower with the post-Byzantine church in the center of the courtyard. The round tower has battlements, ramparts, scalding bowl and big walls without openings, reminiscent fortress rather than a monastery.

  • Tower - Monastery of Faneromeni. It is located just outside Egares on the northwest side of Naxos. It is a building of the late 16th century with movable icons and with a rich library in the past. According to local reports, once, the monks resisted to pirates armed with their hives of bees, which were flung against the enemy. Today, the church operates by a priest who visits it.
  • Tower - Medieval fortress in Agia. It is located strategically in Agia area, on the northern tip of the island. It belonged to Kokos family, another strong Orthodox family of post-medieval Naxos. It dates from the 17th century and in 1992 it suffered major fire damage. 

  • Paleologos Tower in Sagri. It is located just outside Sagri and belonged to Barozzi family. It was built in late of the 17th century.

  • Markopolitis - Papadakis Tower in Academus.

  • Markopolitis Tower in Kerami. It is one of the few towers that were not built by the Venetians. It was erected in the 18th century by the Greek Orthodox lord Markopolitis, as a sign of questioning the authority and the power of the Venetians in the region. 

  • Barozzi Tower in Filoti. A building of 1650 in downtown Filoti. It belonged to Barozzi, one of the most important and harshest lords of Naxos.

  • Bardanis Tower in Apiranthos. It is one of the few towers that were built in a place with high altitude (like the tower of Zevgolis). It is also known by the name of the first owners Sforza - Castri who were the most important families of the island, with their notable feud of Apiranthos during the 17th century. It came under the domination of the current owners family (like the tower of Zevgolis), immediately after the revolution of 1821 and the release of Apeiranthos from feudalism.

  • Zevgolis Tower in Apiranthos. Built on a rock at the entrance of the village, is an impressive building, home of the feudal lords of that era. It was constructed in the 17th century and its original owners were Castris family and after the Sommaripa family. It came under the domination of the current family immediately after the revolution of 1821. 

  • Belonias Tower in Galanado. It is considered as the oldest of Naxos with its construction before 1610 and belonged to Belogna family. The tower is impressive with its imposing 
    presence and offers panoramic views of Chora. 
    Outside the tower, the two-aisled church of St. John was built, around 1300 according to evidence, with one of its aisle to be Orthodox and the other Catholic. On one side of the outer wall is the family crest of Belogna. Current owner is Michael Maragos, also the owner of Lorentano Mansion, in the Castle of Chora. 

  • Tower - Monastery of Christ Fotodotis in Danako. It is the oldest and most important tower-monastery of Naxos, with paintings of Saints and dated inscriptions referring to the Byzantine era. The fort took its form in the 15th century. Building of the Byzantine period, it was seized by the Latins conquerors and ceded in 1227 by the Mark A Sanudo to Benedictine monks. With the advent of the Turks and the lifting of their restrictions against the Orthodox Church, it came under the domination of the monastery of St. John the Theologian of Patmos, where it belongs today. Lately, maintenance work has been done to remove the risk of collapse. Lately, maintenance work has been done to remove the risk of collapse.

  • Markopolis's family Tower in Ano Potamia. 

  • Pradouna Family small Tower, in Egares.

  • Oskelos Tower of 17th century, in Kastraki. It offers excellent views of Paros, Ios, Sikinos, Folegandros and other islands. It was probably built in the 17th century and belonged to families of Conte and Sommaripa.

 

Accommodation
For your stay in Naxos, you can book a room in one of the hotels and Bed & Breakfast inns.
In the town of Naxos, as well as in many other areas of the island, there are hotels and accommodations of various categories and types (rooms to let, residences, Bed & Breakfast inns, studios, hostels, guesthouses and furnished apartments) that can satisfy every visitor's demands and needs for a pleasant and enjoyable stay.
You will find wonderful hotels, rooms and apartments to let of all categories and price ranges.


Access
Naxos island is linked by ferry routes to Piraeus, Access Map. How to get to the Port of Piraeus  Rafina and Lavrio Access Map. How to get to the Port of Lavrio
The route Piraeus - Naxos (103 m distance) varies depending on the ship stops at intermediate ports.
Daily ferry routes connect Naxos to the rest Cyclades Islands.
High Speed vessels connecting Naxos to many of Cyclades Islands and the Port of Piraeus, reduce significantly the duration of the trip.
See details for   Access, Useful information, Transportation

For your convenience, you can use the route map on the field “Routes” with information about the mileage, the time you need and the route you will follow, selecting the points of interest.


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