The Temple of Demeter on Naxos is located near the village of Sangri. This magnificent temple has been made of the finest quality of Naxos marble and is believed to date back to the 6th century BC. As Demeter was the ancient goddess of grain, people used to build temples to her close to fertile areas. Such a fertile ground is found around the village of Sangri, on Naxos.
Some excavations in the area certify that the area was used for a religious purpose since the late Mycenaean Era. That time, the cult of the gods was open air. The temple was built in around 530 B.C in the classical architectural style.
The temple declined after the 3rd century B.C. With the domination of Christianity, the temple of Demeter was turned into a Christian religious center and a small chapel was built in the center of the temple. This chapel was dedicated to Agios Ioannis and was constructed using the marble of the ancient temple. The church was probably ruined in the 6th century A.D., after an invasion of the Arabs. It was rebuilt in 1977 in a southern location.
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. Ruins of the temple were found all over the area, although much of its precious marble had been stolen. In the middle 1990s, a group of German archaeologists restored the temple to its ancient glory. Today, the Temple of Demeter is one of the most beautiful ancient temples, set in a picturesque environment. It can be reached by car. It is found in Ano Sangri, at a distance of about 10 km from Naxos Town.
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