Temple of Apollo - Portara

Temple of Apollo - Portara Naxos Island GreeceThe temple was begun by the tyrant Lygdamis, who ruled Naxos from 545 to 524 BC, but it was unfinished at the end of his reign and never thereafter completed.
All that remains today are the platform of the temple, some columns and architectural fragments, and the north-west portal made from three massive blocks of Naxian marble, with a clear opening 6.2 metres in height and 3.7 metres wide. As originally planned, the structure centred on a cella, the enclosed sanctuary, within which there was a colonnade of two rows with four columns in each row. The outer walls of the cella projected beyond the inner sanctuary to form porches at either end; these were distyle-in-antis - i.e. with two columns standing between each pair of corner posts.
Fragments of the colonnade and other architectural members are now arrayed around the platform, but despite recent archaeological investigations it is still difficult to determine just how far construction of the temple was carried to completion.

The temple served as a quarry in Byzantine times, and its marble blocks, columns, and capitals have been identified in several churches in Naxos Town, as well as in the medieval mansions and fortifications in the Venetian Castro on the Acropolis.

The Naxians have been coming here to watch and wait for ships since Theseus arrived from Crete on his black-sailed caique, and the temple doorway has been part of the local scene for so long now that it has virtually become the symbol of Naxos.

In medieval times, when the ancient gods were no longer officially worshipped on Naxos but by no means forgotten there, the ruined temple and the islet on which it stands were first called the Palatia, for the islanders believed that this had once been the palace of Ariadne. Despite archaeological evidence to the contrary, it is still called the Palatia, and there are moonlit nights when one feels that this sacred place is haunted by the divine presence of the sleeping goddess.