As your ferry chugs into the harbor, you see before you the white houses of Naxos town (Chora) on a hill crowned by the one remaining tower of the Venetian castle, a reminder that Naxos was once the proud capital of the Venetian semi-independent Duchy of the Archipelago.
The most ancient settlements of Naxos were directly on the square in front of the Greek Orthodox cathedral. You'll note that several of the churches on this square, including the cathedral itself, hint at Naxos's venerable history, as they are made of ancient materials. In fact, this square was, in succession, the seat of a flourishing Mycenaean town (1300–1050 BC), a classical agora (when it was a 167-foot by 156-foot square closed on three sides by Doric stoas, so that it looked like the letter "G"; a shorter fourth stoa bordered the east side, leaving room at each end for an entrance), a Roman town, and early Christian church complex. City, cemetery, tumulus, hero shrine: no wonder the Early Christians built here. For more of ancient Naxos, explore the nearby precinct of Grotta.