Naxos Architecture: Discover the architecture of the beautiful island of Naxos Greece
The architecture of Naxos Greece is closely related to the history of Naxos. The architectural history of Naxos took a different path than that of the other islands of the Cyclades when in 1207 the Venenian Marco Sanudo conquered the area and decided to make of Naxos his residence and the centre of his administrations and institutions.
Every monument built in this period was built in a Venetian way. Many monuments are still standing today, which makes the Naxos architecture passionating.
One of the most important monuments is the castle of Hora, built by Marco Sanudo in order to house many of his institutions. The castle is located on the higher point of the town.
The main square is situated at the centre of the castle with a catholic church and the central tower. There are also the “School of Trade” and the “Administration Services” that were located were the Covent of the Capuchin and the Covent of Ursuline stands today.
Many others monuments are of great interest from an architectural point of view.
Among these monuments are the mansions, the houses of the nobles, most of which have been built inside the castle.
For defensive reason, the mansions situated inside the castle had thick walls and it is also the reason they are still standing today.
The houses of the working class were situated outside the castle and looked like all the common houses in the rest of the Cyclades.
The basis of the construction was the saving of space, using most of the time a single space for all the needs. Later, as a variation of these single rooms, larger houses were created by joining single rooms or adding small rooms next to the main one. For the two storey buildings, an internal staircase was used. In that last version, the lower floor was generally used as a kitchen and a dinning-room. The upper floor consisted of rooms and sometimes even had a reception room.
Another characteristic of the Naxos architecture is the many towers encountered all over the island. Those towers can be divided in four categories:
What is original about the construction of the castle is that, in comparison with all the other towns of the Cyclades, it was build following a specific plan designed by an engineer, a unique case for those islands.
The castle had different entrances but only three are left today with their old wooden doors.
The huge walls form a pentagon which used to have towers on each corner. Today, only one tower is left.
Outside the castle, the mansions were less severe in their way of building. Those mansions are the impressive witnesses of a distant age. Most of the times, the entrance of the mansions are made of refined carved marbles and one can see on it the coats of arms of the nobles.
Inside, the mansion consists of a law ground floor with an upper storey which contains the spacious living quarters. These rooms are supported with very long cypress trees and the floor is converted with white naxian marble.
towers built by the Venetians for observing the locals and to prevent an eventual pirate assault, towers built by inhabitants to defend themselves against invaders, towers used as monasteries and towers used as country houses for the Venetian nobles.