Built amphitheatrically at the foot of Mount Zas, the picturesque village of Danakos is situated deep in a gorge at the foot of Mt. Zas on Naxos’s eastern side. It is one of the island’s oldest settlements with references by Homer and ancient historians Thucydides and Polybius, but also attested by the numerous remains of an ancient cemetery, wells and Byzantine chapels in the area.
The name Danakos is thought to derive either from Danaoi –an early Greek tribe- or from “danax” – the ancient word for cane, which is considered to have proliferated in the area.
The village of Danakos is well-known for its plentiful and clear water springs which used to power a number of mills. The remnants of seven of these mills can still be seen in the lush gorge where plane trees and oleanders predominate. Its main feature is the water spring on its western side.
Cultural events, such as kouzinomagiremata (cookery contests) and concerts by well-known Greek artists are held at the plateau (central square) under the centenarian plane tree at the water spring every summer.
There are around 160 permanent residents in Danakos, the majority of whom are farmers, stone masons and millers.
Naxos’ oldest monastery, Photodotis, located at a short distance from the village, is also a must for visitors.
Zoodochos Pigi (“The Spring of Eternal Life”) is the holy patron of the village. The church is located next to the fountainhead. Vespers are held on the eve and mass in the morning on the annual Zoodochos Pigi celebration day (panagiri), which takes place on the Friday after Easter. The holy icon is then paraded around the village. Feasting, music and dance follow in the local tavernas.
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