Naxos Island – Nature, Location, Geographical Features

Naxos is one of the Cycladic islands and it is part of the Prefecture of the Cyclades. It lies a short distance to the east of Paros whilst to its south and south-west are the islands of Irakleia, Schinousa, Epano Koufonisi, Kato Koufonisi, Keros and Ano and Kato Antikeri. To the east are the islets of Makares, Ayia Paraskevi, Strongili and Donousa.

Naxos is round in shape. It has a length from north to south of 17.6 miles and a greatest width, approximately in the centre, of 13.2 miles. It covers a total area of 430 square metres and its coastline is 148 kilometres long. If we were to sail around the island from the north coast in a south-westerly direction then we would encounter the bays of Limeneri, Kyra, Amyti, Ayios Georgios and Kyrades, the islets of Amarantes, Aspronisi and Parthenos, and the capes Kavos Mikris Viglas, Kouroupia and Katomeri (south). The east coast of Naxos is not as interestingly formed, with the exceptions of the capes of Axala and Kavo Stavro. The island is mountainous and a tall mountain range runs across the whole of the island, from the south to the north. The tallest peak is Mt Zeus (1,003 metres), which lies somewhere in the middle of the mountain range. Other peaks are Koronos (997 m.), Anathematistra (778 m.), Mavrovouni (869 m.), Troullos (606 m.), Kerasea (523 m.), Mavri Petra (420 m.), Paliopyrgos (227 m.) and Viglatouri (418 m.).

Naxos has fertile earth and produces significant quantities of cereals, olive oil, fruit and wine. Livestock farming is also quite developed, producing select quality cheeses, as are tourism and the processing of agricultural produce. The main source of income, however, is emery (‘Naxiot earth’), which is mined in the north-east. A fine marble is also found in the mountain regions.

According to the census of 1981, Naxos had 14,037 inhabitants.

As far as its administration is concerned, in the past Naxos consisted of a municipality and many autonomous communities.

The recent ‘Capodistrias’ programme for the redistribution of local administration created two large municipalities, the Municipality of Naxos, which includes Hora (the main town) and the surrounding areas, and the Municipality of Drymalia, which contains the former autonomous communities of the villages of Filoti, Apeiranthos, Koronos, Komiaki, Halki (Tragaia) and Moni. The other communities have remained as they were. The Municipality of Naxos is very developed and has recently made important advances in tourism as well, all the income from which goes directly to the municipal purse. The Municipality of Drymalia includes the most developed villages of mountain Naxos, the residents of which look to improving their quality of life, developing their crops and agriculture and other sectors.

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