Your visit to Naxos would be a crime if you do not visit the Halki village that lies at the heart of the Traghaia valley region; about 5 minutes away from ELaiolithos Retreat (3.5 Km) and 20 minutes’ drive (16 Km) from Chora, and merits a stop on your tour. It is called the “Byzantine Mystras of the Aegean”, this small historic village is a vivid reflection of historic Naxos, with the handsome facades of old villas and tower houses, a legacy of its wealthy past as the island’s long-ago capital. Today it is home to a fascinating collection of shops and galleries, drawing artists and culinary wizards.
Apart from the attractions and natural beauties of the village, your time there will be taken up at the very special shops. One of these shops is the EL Gallery; an Eco Art & Decor Gallery of handmade eclectic works of art with high aesthetics and quality. I opened EL Gallery in spring 2015 when I returned to Naxos, my hometown – lived for 30 years in New York and returned again to my island to create this art space in the village of Halki with my mission to be an imposing rebirth of the spirit of Naxos. I am the inspiration force and the coordinator & initiator of all of these collections. My love for my native island, for nature, for decoration & creation, and my knowledge & experience in New York shows up in the Gallery – a perfect balance between classic, timeless style & a fresh contemporary look – A cool décor, worth a detour.
I design unique products ideal for interior decoration helping clients create meaningful, beautiful, artful spaces to nurture their lives. This idea came to my mind because so much natural art exists in the Naxian environment and the energy – vibes of Naxos feels so very good for the creative people. In my gallery you will find unique artifacts to decorate any place – Pieces that capture the beauty & tradition of Mother Nature, the Naxian Culture, as well as the Heritage, Monuments & Attractions.
Exquisite décor for any place – all created by local artists with mostly local materials: olive wood, clay, ceramic, stone and marble.
All products are Naxian, 100% absolutely handmade constructions, which result to inspiration and travel everyone in an old era where beauty, simplicity, desire & functionality were a part of everyday life. No two items are identical thus making each one OOAK – one of a kind.
ELaiolithos and EL-EcoArt Gallery are directly related and connected. All decorative pieces in every room of ELaiolithos are originated from the gallery. ELaiolithos Retreat was born on my mind because of my love for nature and the olive tree – a place ideal for all those who love and appreciate nature and the environment. Going out to enjoy nature, leaving civilization behind to go for a wilderness walk or a hike or bike or ride to enjoy the splendid beauty, the creativity and variety of ‘’mother nature’s creation’’ in the natural world, brings out our true self. And the decoration in ELaiolithos clearly depicts its relationship with EL-Art Gallery where Nature and its universal elements of fresh air and the experience of the 5 senses all at once are found in this place and create an exhilarating atmosphere.
MY GOAL IS: to lead my viewers/clients/guests to pause and reflect, and to feel as if they are there, in the moment. I want all art pieces displayed in ELaiolithos and the EL-Art Gallery to uplift every visitor and to make him/her appreciate the human form, because I truly believe that art creations are deeply evocative, transcendent, and meditative. To me, they are like soulful friends, who revive and soothe the spirit.
My belief is: that the art we should be doing today in this century, is art that is not for the museum, it is art for the street and people’s lives because art has the ability to captivate and move. Art has a spiritual dimension and especially the eco art has strong spiritual roots. When religion, science and morality are shaken as it happens in our days and when outer supports threaten to fall, man needs to withdraw his gaze from externals and turn it inwards. Literature, music, poetry, architecture and art are the most sensitive spheres in which this spiritual revolution makes itself felt.
Art means knowledge of oneself. The knowledge of oneself means wisdom. Wisdom means spiritual understanding. And spiritual understanding leads us all to the aim of our essential purpose. It is time to open up to art and the possibilities this experience presents. What is art and spirituality? Are they connected? The answer lies within each of us.
We welcome you to experience the beauty of Naxian culture and tradition. The ELaiolithos Retreat is a little stage where the joy is found in inspiration and creativity and once you are around nature all that comes instantaneously. Everything around here is a conversation piece. I try to create an experience where people can enjoy the serenity and tranquility of the environment, its beauty, art and design.
For your Naxos holiday shopping, a wide variety of art pieces can be found at great prices in L-EcoArt Shop Gallery in Chalkio. Visit us! Decorate! Now you have the opportunity to freshen up your living space – take something home and make it part of your life.
Enjoy your staying and your journey…..
Chalki is a gem of the Naxian hinterland and its surrounding area is home to many archaeological sites, including Byzantine Churches filled with frescoes and tall Venetian towers. The most important monuments include the church of the Virgin Mary Protothroni, built in the 6th Century BC, which has been operating continuously since 1052 and is among the most important of the island.
Behind the church, your gaze will be captured by the imposing Grand Gratsia-Barozzi Tower, built in the early 17th century by the Barozzi family & impresses with both its size and construction. It’s quite a significant 17th century building, with three-stories, strong walls, barred windows and a turret tower with a perforated floor from where the defenders poured boiling oil on attackers.
The Vallindras Distillery which initiate visitors into the secrets of the production of the Citron liqueur, which has become the emblematic product of Naxos.
Within 3 Km from Chalki and 350 meters from ELaiolithos Retreat, there is one of the most important Christian monuments on the island. One of the oldest and most beautiful churches of Naxos and Cyclades, Virgin Mary Panagia Drosiani Church attracts the eye of its visitors with its rare architecture. It is a three-winged Byzantine church with a dome, built with rough stones and slabs on its roof. On its north side are three one-room chapels with domes. It dates back to the 4th century and was a Catholic monastery.
In its interior were three layers of frescoes of unique value, of which the first two were removed and transferred to museums. These that we see today are the oldest and date back to the 6th century and the first half of the 4th century. A particularly interesting sight is the dual representation of Christ in the dome, who is represented as a young man with little facial hair and a mature man with a beard.