Apollo, the god of light and music, held a prominent place among his peers worshiped on Naxos.
He was the son Zeus and Leto –who, due to the jealousy of and persecution by Hera, Zeus’ wife, was protected by Poseidon, god of the sea, and was transported to Delos on the back of a dolphin, where she gave birth to Apollo and Artemis. Naxiots dedicated a huge statue of Apollo at Delos, bearing the inscription “ΝΑΞΙΟΣ ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝΙΟΣ” (“Apollonian Naxiot”).
The god was worshiped in three places:
Naxos city (present-day Chora), where the tyrant Lygdamis decided to build a temple in his honor on the islet of Palatia, next to the harbor.
The temple was never finished but its majestic grand marble gate, the Portara, still stands today and is the island’s emblem.
Apollo was also worshiped in the Tragea valley, according to early Byzantine historiographer Stephanos Vyzantios.
And last, in the area of Apollonas –as the name suggests- where the inscription “ΟΡΟΣ ΧΩΡΙΟΥ ΙΕΡΟΥ ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝΟΣ” (“Mountain of Apollo’s holy sanctuary”) is seen carved on a rock.
The 3rd century, open-air sanctuary is near the location of the ancient quarries.
Among the remains of the ancient quarrying activity is the giant statue of beard-sporting god Dionysus which was probably destined for his temple at Yria.