Naxos seems almost like a continent compared with the surrounding islands. The biggest one measures about 428 km2 - huge for an island but only the half of the city area of Berlin. No other island feature these variety of landscape: copious lowlands, cliffy mountains, silvery green olive groves, mile long golden sandy beaches, dunes like at the north sea. In the middle of the island ranges the high water content plateau Tragea, an impressive mountain range, in the North and in the East of the island you find the lonesome, sparsely populated seaside. Almost the common South of the island is entirely unexploited. To explore the island by 4x4 makes a fascinating adventure trip!
All of the Cyclades belong to the moderate, subtropical Mediterranean climate. At Naxos rotate hot and dry summers with windy and rainy but gentle winters. The transition period in spring and autumn are rather short.
The Meltemi appears between June and September. Normally it starts in the late forenoon, increases during the day until 5 and 6 Beaufort and abate slowly until eve, if compensated by a northerly breeze. Sometimes it reaches 7 and 8 Beaufort, then it stays mostly the same strength all night long and also for the following days.
In ancient world Aiolos, son of Poseidon and dominator of the winds, was made responsible for the Meltemi. Today the mystery is researched: The Meltemi is powered by the compensating stream between the high pressure area over the Balkan and the low over the Arabic desert. It blows from the Northeast clockwise into the North Agean, turns there around and storms the other way round over the cyclades. The Meltemi even could be called a Mini-Monsoon.
In contrast to most of the Cyclades is Naxos really green and variegated. Rambling olive groves, densely Macchia and knee-high Phruganga plants define the view. In gorges and dales also cypresses are growing, near the sea Tamarisks and reed. In former times wide forests of oak trees preexisted. But they had been nearly totally deforested - mainly by the Venetians - for the armada or as firewood. Big parts also fell victim to forest fires.
The typical residents of an Aegean island you can meet also on Naxos, namely lizards, snakes and innumerable insects. Besides you find of course farm-animals all over the island: goats, sheep, donkeys, poultry and even dairy cows. In the copious underwater world you will see a variegated sea life, mainly barbs, breams, calamari, squids and lobsters. They are fished all around the island.
Since the ancient world marble is abolished in great quantities, and still today it is one of the most important products for the export. The marble quarries are mainly situated near the villages Moni and Kinidaros. In former times also emery was abolished, an extremely tough mineral, that was used to abrade. The emery from Naxos was widespread in the middle ages.
Godfather Zeus is supposed to grown up on Naxos. Here he started his battle of conquest, that let him come to the throne of the gods. And even as sovereign of the Olympic he was closely connected to the island of his childhood. Later he felt in love with Semeli, daughter of the king of Theben. However Semeli died after an exiting night of love with Zeus, because no non eternal could survive the look at a god. Zeus took his that way procreated son Dionysos out of the dying body of Semeli and implanted him in is own thigh. Finally the god of wine was raised up on Naxos by three nymphs. Dionysos celebrated on Naxos (at that time called Dia), the island of wine, his infamous bacchanals. The highest mountain of the island therefore is called Zeus.
The oldest fossil records are dated in the 4th century B.C. Many of these pieces has been found in the area of Grotta, in the north of the city of Naxos. Earlier also Thrakians from the mainland immigrated and brought the grape-vine to Naxos. After that the Karer settled on Naxos and the leader gave Naxos its name. Later the Phoenicians inhabited the island followed by the Minoans.
Onto the time of Constantine the Great (280-337 A.D.) all the cyclades islands were taken over by the Byzantine empire. It left it's marks on the island, particularly with regard to churches and chapels. But during this time the people of Naxos suffered above all from permanently pirate aggressions.
In 1537 the Turkish corsair and admiral Chaireddin Barbarossa captured Naxos. The Cyclades became Turkish. The Turks weren't interested in the governance of the island but the more in the taxes that Naxos had to raise every year. Therefore in fact the Venetians kept the political power.
Like nearly all of the Cycladic Islands Naxos took part in the Greek independence war against the Turks in 1821. In 1830 Naxos Naxos became part of the new nation state Greece.