Sunday 24 September 2023

The castle and the old town in Naxos

The capital of Naxos, the Hora, carries all the typical features of a Cyclades island, and quite a few of its monuments date back to various historical periods. Its heart beats in Old Hora, the fortified town with the cobble-stone alleys and the Venetian walled houses. The front doors of the grand residences still bear the coat of arms of their Venetian owners; the narrow backstreets and the galleries, the catholic churches and the fortifications have created a unique mixing of Cycladic and mediaeval architecture. 

You enter the old town, and it's steps

narrow alleyways

and even narrower ones that give you a glimpse of the sea,

small churches

white-washed houses with blue doors

or with lots of blue

while a few of the doors are a different colour

some houses have rounded walls

and some have parts of the stonework exposed

cobble-stoned alleyways


of all sizes

and shape

and quite often one after another.

some of the alleyways are so complicated they look like interiors.

One street artist has been busy

The Old Gate

which leads to the Cathedral

in Cathedral Square which is on the north side of the town very near the sea

a smaller church next to it

on the other side of the square this mansion that is in need of restoration, but how grand!

We loved walking around the old town and inside the castle and we did this most evenings before settling down to our pre-dinner drinks

and we loved walking under the arches

and I know I've posted too many pictures of them

but each one of them is different

and you think how many ways are there of constructing an arch?

and the answer is obviously that there's are infinite number of ways.

I promise I'll stop.

This building used to be the French Commercial School - Nikos Kazantzakis was a student here from 1897 to 1898.

Part of the old castle wall

Finally, we visited Avaton, located in the castle grounds,  which used to be the Ursuline Monastery,  incorporating an Ursuline school for the education of  girls of wealthy Catholic families, that dates back to the 17th century.

The building is now a museum. It also has a lift which is used extensively as taking it  means having to avoid the long, ardous walk up the old town and castle

On the roof there's a cafe

and restaurant

and it affords great views of the Hora and the area around it


  1. Wow. What a lovely post Eirene. I went through this blog post twice taking in all the photos. Everything is so pretty, the blue paint, the archways, the cobbled stones, even that cat was stylish. Definitely need to go to Naxos. :)

    1. Hahaha! Your comment on the cat made me laugh. Naxos is very beautiful indeed, and I know that there is much more that we did not explore because we did not feel like doing much. But, it's worth exploring beyond the Hora, not least because the Hora is so busy - too many tourists, and the whole place seems to be oriented towards visitors, which other islands are not to that extent. So, this is the downside.