The cult of god Dionysus was much developed in the ancient times in Naxos. Dionysus was generally much loved by the ancient Greeks as he was the god of wine, celebration, and fun. He was thought to live in dense forests and to be always drunken by wine. As Naxos was famous in the antiquity for its wine production that was traded all over Greece and the Mediterranean, people believed that god Dionysus resided permanently on the lush forests of Naxos.
In fact, the myth says that when Theseus abandoned Ariadne on Naxos, Dionysus saw her and fell in love with the young, beautiful lady. At first, Ariadne didn’t like the god and tried to hide in the intense greenery of the island, but Dionysus found her, they got married and Ariadne became a goddess.
To honor their god, the residents of Naxos built a large temple that partly survives till today in the modern position Iria, close to Glinado village and about 5 km from Chora. Scientists believe that religious activity in the area started in the 13th century B.C., during the Mycenaean Era and that four successive temples were built on that exact era along centuries.
The ruins that survive today show that the temple was built approximately in the 6th century B.C. following the Ionian architectural style. In the 1st century B.C., the Romans reconstructed it and in the 5th century A.D., after the religion of the Olympian Gods had failed, the temple was turned into a Christian church. Some restoration works have been performed in the temple and next to it, there is a small room with findings from the site.
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