Naxos Smirida Stone

Smirida stone, or smiriyli as the Naxians call it, is a characteristic black stone consisting mainly of corundum, which has numerous uses in various industrial fields due to its composition. Its hardness, being quite high (fairly close to that of the diamond), makes it ideal for the abrasion of glass, while its anti-slippery qualities are an asset for asphalt construction. Naxos is known to have the largest reservoirs of this precious rock worldwide, and the natives have been occupied with the extraction and trading of smirida since antiquity.

Smirida stone is found in the mountain of Ammomaxi, in the northern part of the island, in the area called Argokili between Apiranthos and Koronos. Smirida had majorly contributed to the establishment of a flourishing economy for the nearby mountainous villages (called smiridohoria, i.e. the villages of smirida). During Ottoman Sovereignty, the profit from the mining and exploitation of the stone was an exclusive privilege of the locals.

Working in the mines had always been challenging, as the conditions were extreme, and miners were frequently exposed to dangers and suffered injuries. Nowadays, special facilities have been established to simplify the mining process. The Naxians provide the state with the raw material and the trading process has been undertaken by the competent authorities. However, the demand for smirida stone has decreased significantly, as it has been replaced by an synthetic version.

For those interested, in the slopes of the northeastern part of Ammomaxi mountain lie many smirida mines, some of which date back to the Copper Age. Approximately 50 of them are still open to the public and, in case you wish to visit one, it is recommended to be assisted by an experienced local to show you around.