Naxos The Byzantine monuments in Tragaia

Panagia Drosiani church. Naxos island. Cyclades. Greece. George Detsis. 09/2004.

Tragaia is a fertile valley with 12 villages, the largest of which are Filoti and Chalki (Chalkeion). In the area you will see about 30 of the most important Byzantine churches of the Aegean, where Byzantine frescoes from the 6th to the 15th century are still preserved. It is a real “Mistras of Naxos”.


-Panagia Drosani. It lies between Chalki and Moni, in the plain of Tragaia (on the asphalt road). It is one of the oldest and most important churches of Naxos. It was the katholikon of a monastery and once called Theoskepasti and Panagia Kera. It has interesting architecture. It is single-aisled, three-winged with a dome and three single-aisled chapels with domes attached to the north wall. The frescoes survived, according to many scholars, are the oldest ones in the Balkans. They date back to the 6th century and the first half of the 7th century. There are also other layers with important frescoes of the 11th to the 14th century. Among the most important representations is the rare depiction of Christ in the dome in two forms (younger and older, a rare example of pre-iconoclastic period) and the depiction of the Virgin Mary as Saint Maria. The church hosts also the old icon of Kyra Drosani associated with many legends and traditions.

-Panagia Protothroni: This is one of the important churches of the island, built in 1052. It was probably the cathedral of Naxos since 1083. It was built in the early Christian era as a three-aisled basilica and in the 9th century it was turned into a three-aisled cruciform church with a dome. Five layers of frescoes have been preserved in the church and the old Christian synthronon is preserved in the sanctuary. According to tradition, the miraculous icon of Panagia Protothroni dates back to the 7th century and was found in Mikri Vigla. In the north side of the church there is a chapel of Agios Akindynos with unique frescoes from 1052.

– Agios Georgios Diasoritis: It is cruciform with a dome and famous frescoes, the oldest of which date back to the 11th century, some to the 12th and 13th century.

– Panagia Diamotissa: A beautiful cruciform Byzantine temple with a dome. It has frescoes that date back to the 12th and 13th century, while there are also representations from the 14th century.

– Agios Ioannis at Kerami: A Byzantine chapel from the 13th century that hosts great frescoes dating back in 1260.

– Agii Apostoli of Metochi: This is a Byzantine church of great architectural value located in the olive groves near the deserted settlement Metochi outside Kerami. It is the only temple of Naxos with a two-storey building (probably chapel), where external stairs lead to. It is cruciform, tetrastyle with a dome. Frescoes of the 12th or 13th century revealed under the lime-washed surface are still preserved.

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