Cretan History


Ancient Naxos at Oxa
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At a magnificent location on mount Oxa, with panoramic views of the lagoon of Elounda, we meet the ruins of a fortified town that is believed to be ancient Naxos. Perhaps, it served as the acropolis of Olous, the ancient town of Elounda. We can still see the walls and some of the many cisterns of the city that reportedly exceeded the number of 100. Here the archaeologists have identified significant archaeological findings and coins depicting Dionysus.

According to one option, ancient Naxos, Naxia or Tallen was the worship site of Tallea Zeus (Zeus of sun) and races for Zeus took place here. According to another option, ancient Naxos in Oxa owes its name to its founder, Oaxos, Axos or Naxos. Naxos was the son of Apollo and the daughter of king Minos, Akakkalida. Indeed, he is associated with the establishment of ancient Axos in province Milopotamos province and the island Naxos in the Cyclades.

On the opposite hill, there are whetstone quarries (naxian stone), which was also extracted at the famous island of Naxos in the Cyclades. Moreover, on the island of the Cyclades, the highest mountain is called Oxia, while coins have been identified with Dionysus. This leads us to the implication that there was some relationship between these two areas, Naxos at the Cyclades and Ancient Naxos at Elounda.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Lassithi Prefecture
  • Type: Ancient Settlement
  • Peak Period: Roman Era (69 BC - 395 AD)
  • Accessibility: Walking

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