Tavropolion, Nas

The small coastal village of Nas is located in the island’s north western section, just a few kilometres from Armenistis.Here was where the harbour of the ancient town stood. It’s name is believed to have come either from the word “naos” meaning “temple” or from the word “Ma”, which was how the goddess Artemis was referred to in Asia Minor. The worship of this particular goddess came to the island during the post-Minoan era and prompted the construction of the temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis “Tavropolios”. This unique version of the deity’s name was derived from the word “tavros” meaning bull, as she was known as being a virile force of both nature and destruction.

It seems that here, people venerated the goddess by worshipping a wooden statue of her image, which was believed to have been “heaven sent” rather than constructed by human hands. The temple of Tavropolio was one of the first built to Artemis in ancient times. Unfortunately, only ruins of the temple exist today, particularly the floor. Several calcified marble artefacts can still be found scattered around the area. Additionally, the remains of a limestone kiln have been unearthed, in which fragments of the ancient temple had been burned in order to be used as building material for the construction of Christian churches during the years of its expansion throughout the region.

Many findings suggest that Nas was the main settlement of the island during a specific period in antiquity. At its height, its harbour stretched from the beach and continued deep into the Halari Gorge. The ancient waterfront of the harbour and iron stakes where boats were once tied, can still be seen today.

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