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The town of Naxos, or Chora, Naxos Island

Chora is the capital of the island and the main port of it. It is situated at the center of the western coast of the island, pretty close to the airport. It is a small town with some 7.000 permanent residents, with good facilities and services and interesting architectural and historic features and sightseeing.

A wide range of alternatives for accommodation is available, both within the town tissue and in the area around, at the neighboring popular and well organized beaches. It also has a good market both for souvenirs and things of every day use, but also for food, mainly agricultural and dairy products, most of them of local production. For eating and drinking you will find many choices, which cover all tastes in any time of the day and night. And, of course, you will find a lot of alternatives for amusement and night life: music bars, clubs and taverns with music.
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You have a lot of things worth seeing in the town of Naxos. The most important of them is the medieval settlement, situated on the hill; it is the heart of the town and also served as the castle of the medieval town. The castle was constructed in the 13th century, during the domination of the Venetian Marco Sanudo. Architectural parts of the ancient town had been used for the construction of the castle. What rests today from the initial building is two out of the three gates, the “Trani” (meaning “the great one”) and the “Paraporti” (the “side door”), as well as one out of the 12 towers. The interior of the castle is equally interesting: well preserved stone paved narrow streets, old Venetian mansions with the blazons of the owners enwalled in the masonry, the palace of Marco Sanudo, the school of the Ursuline Order, the Catholic Cathedral and the house of the Catholic bishop and many other buildings.

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The most characteristic monument, the “trade mark” of the island and of Chora, is “Portara” (“the huge door” in Greek). The so called monument is an imposing doorframe made of marble, situated at Palatia, a small islet at the northern end of the town, which is connected with the main island through a narrow strip of land. This doorframe belongs to the grandiose temple of Apollo Delios whose construction started in the 6th century b.C., but never was accomplished. The location of the temple is also linked with the myth of Ariadne.

Strolling about the town you will have the chance to visit several churches, as the church of Panaghia Vlaherniotissa, dedicated to Virgin Mary, with a very interesting decoration and two icons of the Post-Byzantine period made by one of the disciples of El Greco, the Cathedral of Zoodohos Pighi (Virgin Mary, the “spring of life”) with a very nice icon screen of marble, and the small church of Panaghia Myrtidiotissa (this too dedicated to Virgin Mary) at the port.

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Another worth seeing building is the Town Hall, where there are also housed the Municipal Library, the Municipal Theater, the Philarmonic Orchestra and other cultural foundations.

Close enough to the town, at a distance of 3 kilometers to the Northeast, you may visit the Holy Monastery of Aghios Ioannis Chrysostomos, with a very interesting decoration in the interior. Above the monastery, upon a rock, you will see “Theologaki”, a small church dedicated to Aghios Ioannis Theologos (St. John the Theologian).

The Museums of the town are also worth visiting; the most important of them is, of course, the Archaeological Museum where you will see exhibits from all periods of the history of island, from the Neolithic period up to the Early Christian times. The Museum of the Cathedral houses the finds from in situ surveys. You may see interesting pieces of the Mycenaean period, as well as tombs dated in the Geometric times.

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The closest beach for swimming is the lovely scenic sandy beach of Aghios Georgios, owing its name to the homonymous church adjacent to the beach.

Several cultural activities take place in the town , both during the Carnival and in summer ( the so - called “ Dionysia ”). One of the most popular events, attracting many visitors, is the feast of wine taking place in late August and early September, during the period of vine harvest. A local religious feast (“panighyri”) is organized on the 14th of July in honor of Aghios Nicodemos; the feast is very popular and many people attend it, both locals and tourists.

In case of health problems a local Medical Center is available in Chora; you may also address to the pharmacies of the town. At Chora there is also a Police Station, a Port Authority Office and, of course, a Post Office.

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Access to Chora is in fact the same as the access to the island. You can reach Chora from almost all the islands of the Aegean by conventional and high speed ferry boats. You may also fly from Athens all year round, while in summer there are also flights from other cities Greece, as well as charter flights from several cities of Europe. The town of Naxos (Chora) is also connected with most of the villages and with the popular beaches of the island with an extended network of public buses. Taxis are also available.

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