Naxos Demeter Temple

Location: Sangri

The Temple of Demeter, Naxos: Demeter Temple is located near the village of Sangri, 10 km away from Naxos Town.
This magnificent temple has been made exclusively of the finest quality Naxos marble and dates back to the 6th century BC.
As Demeter was the ancient goddess of agriculture, people used to build temples dedicated to her on fertile land, such as that of Sangri.

The rise

Excavations have led to the conclusion that the area has been used for religious purposes ever since the late Mycenaean Era. During that time, places of worship used to be open-air.
The temple of Demeter in its current form was built around 530-520 BC, in the Doric architectural style that influenced the Parthenon of Athens later on. It has a great archeological value and some of its best-preserved sections have helped experts gain a better understanding of the architecture of that period.

Its construction took place under the rule of Lygdamis, the tyrant of Naxos. Lygdamis had planned to create some of Greece's most impressive monuments in Naxos, including not only the Temple of Demeter but also Portara.

The fall

The temple's popularity began to decline after the 3rd century BC. When Christianity took over, the temple of Demeter was converted to a Christian basilica and a small chapel was built in the center of the temple. This chapel was dedicated to Agios Ioannis and marble from the ancient temple was used for its construction.
The church was probably ruined in the 6th century AD, after an Arabic invasion, although some ruins can still be seen there. It was rebuilt in 1977 in a different location, in the south.

The restoration

The remains of the ancient temple of Demeter were discovered by the archaeologist Nikolaos Kontoleon in 1949. The excavation works lasted from 1976 to 1995. Fragments of the temple were recovered from all around the area, although many of them had been looted.

In the mid-1990s, a group of German archaeologists restored the temple partially to revive its ancient glory.

Today, the Temple of Demeter is one of the most beautiful ancient Greek temples, set in a picturesque environment in the area of Ano Sangri. It can be reached by car or KTEL bus.

Authentic parts of the temple that were not used during the restoration process are currently housed in a small museum located near the archeological site that is open to the public. Entrance to the outdoor archeological site is free.

Tours and activities related to Temple of Demeter

How to get there

The Temple of Demeter is located in Sangri village.

Private transfers: We recommend using an online pre-booked transfer service, which provides transfer by taxi, minibus or private VIP car and arranging a pickup directly from the port, airport or your hotel. Alternatively, there’s the option of arranging a pickup by a local driver directly at the following numbers: 0030 22850 25835, 0030 22850 24829 or book your taxi online.

Car rental: Τhere’s the option of renting a car with as little as 15 euros per day and pick it up directly from the airport, port or your hotel. Using a car rental allows visitors to discover the Temple of Demeter and many other places of interest at their own pace.

Public transfers: The central bus station of the island is located at the port of Naxos. There are several buses from Chora to Sangri during the day. Consider that time schedules might change according to the season. Check the official timetables here.
Tip: Since buses don’t always stop in every scheduled stop of their itinerary, our advice to visitors is to inform the driver about their final destination, so that he makes a stop there.

Map Of Demeter Temple

Reviews of Demeter Temple

4/5.0
2 Reviews
  • ablutsauger 09 Dec 2015
    A little abandoned but great place
    The "original" Temple of Demeter was built in 6th BC. The temple was a ruin for ages, but recently, it was discovered that most of its parts are still "alive", so it was reconstructed, plastered... and we have the result we have.
    The place is very nice, with long path surrounded by trees leading to it, and church and very cute museum (which was closed at the time of our visit).
    The temple is in the middle of nowhere, with practically no signs. I'm not sure about the bus tours, but if you have rented a car, you'll find it pretty easily, and then you can continue for a trekking on Zeus mountain. :)
  • summer 22 Sep 2010
    Need for reconstruction plan
    A little mess to find the temple because signs were not very enlightening. We asked some locals in Sangri and eventually we found it, right after a turn, 2 km from Ano Sangri. It was a lovely temple, as all ancient Greek sanctuaries. This one was for Demeter, the goddess of fertility and grain. Not a surprise actually, if you think that Naxos has green and fertile land. We saw many people cultivating the land on our holidays in Naxos. As I was saying, the temple was lovely but sure a plan for its reconstruction must start. It is really a pity that so beautiful ancient sights are sometimes abandoned due to lack of money or plan. Next to the temple, there is a tiny chapel. Ancient and christian sanctuaries side by side!

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