The Portara Gate

The Portara Gate

The Portara, the great marble gate that stands high on the islet of Palatia, now united with Naxos town, is what remains of the Temple of Apollo, who started to be built around the 6th-7th century BC and was never completed.

The Portara gate is the first image visitors face when the ship enters the port of Naxos and is of course the trademark of the island of Naxos. On the islet, according to mythology, Theseus abandoned his love Ariadne, after killing Minotaur in Crete.

In fact what we see today, is the gate of the temple that the tyrant Lygdamis began to build, wishing to present a larger temple than the temple of Zeus in Athens and the Temple of Hera in Samos. After the fall of tyranny on Naxos although, the temple remained unfinished. Today only the foundations of this majestic temple are visible. The glorious gate was constructed of four large pieces of local marble, each of them weighing around 20 tons. It has a height of almost 6 meters and a width of more than 3.5 meters.

Between the 5th and 6th century AD the temple became Christian and it was used until the Venetian era when it was destroyed completely and its marbles were used by the Venetians for the construction of other buildings, mainly for the Castle of Naxos Town (Chora). During the time that it functioned although, a village developed around it.

Because of the rising of the sea level from ancient times until today, the shore have been covered by water. Nowadays we know that in ancient times the islet of Palatia was a low hill opposite of the castle and in between there was a flat area.


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