Destinations

Delos

 An island so small but so unique and captivating!

THE ISLAND WHERE LIGHT WAS BORN..

The island of Delos, in whole is considered an archaeological site, although only 1/6 of it has been excavated. The only people allowed to live there, are the guards and the archaeologists and they are also the only ones allowed to swim in the waters of its bays, because…once upon a time, they were all ancient ports.

 Delos, is the mythical birthplace of two Ancient Greek Gods, Artemis-Goddess of hunting and wild animals and Apollo – God of Light, harmony, music, oracle and beauty. This barren little island in the middle of the Aegean Sea, inhabited since the mid 3rd millennium BCE, turned into one of the most important religious centres for the ancient Greeks and later on into one of the most famous trade centres in the Eastern Mediterranean. It’s believed, that at least since the 9th cent. BCE, the Apollonian Sanctuary was established and Greeks from all over the Greek world gathered there for hundreds of years, so as to worship the God of Light , Apollo. The importance of the sanctuary brought in fame and wealth to the island. From the 3rd and 2nd century BCE an amazing city of trade was developed and by the 1st cent. BCE, under Roman rule at that point, it is estimated that approximately 30.000 people lived on the island. Unique events occurred during this island’s existence in history. Under a law established in the 5thcent. BCE , Delos became an island on which nobody was allowed to die or give birth on . Also, it was a Greek city state never destroyed by war until its final destructions in 88 BCE and 69 BCE.  

During your visit or tour, you will walk through the most well excavated residential areas, dating back to 3rd, 2nd and 1st century BCE , where you will see beautiful mosaics, amazing water cisterns, walk past and in what would have once been shops, workshops and homes (the House of Dionysus, the House of the Trident ect). You will reach the Theatre, which could have seated approximately 6500 people. As the island became a cosmopolitan market place, not only did its markets and shops fill up with goods from faraway lands, but with the merchants and the sailors came Gods and Goddess from far away lands and cultures. On Delos there are remains of temples dedicated to Egyptian and Syrian gods, gods from Beirut and remains of the one of the oldest Jewish synagogues of the Diaspora, dating back to 2nd-1st century BCE.

 However, it’s also recommended you head towards  the more spiritual side of the island, the Sanctuary of Apollo, which may not be so well preserved, but it was for sure magnificent in its time. You will walk down the Sacred Avenue so as to reach the Sanctuary and then past what has remained of Temples, Treasuries, bases of votive statues and of course the largest marble base of all, belonged to the magnificent marble statue of Apollo, the Colossus of the Naxians, which was 9metres (29 feet) high and his base weighs 32 tones. Last, but not least, amongst the hundreds of things to discover in this ancient city, one cannot miss the famous Terrace of The Lions, offered to the island by the city state of Naxos around the end of the 7th cent. beginning of 6th cent. BCE .These marble Lions (today, replicas on the site as the original ones have been moved into the museum of Delos) are considered the “symbol” of Delos and were considered the guards of the Sacred Lake, where it was believed that the twin Gods were born. 

Delos ,was considered so important in the Ancient Greek World , that the group of islands you are visiting, have been named Κυκλάδες-“Kyklades”, (Κύκλος=circle), the Cyclades, as it was believed that they all formed an imaginative circle around this special Island… The island, where as it was believed, Light was born!

Sailing past it or even better walking through the ancient city will for sure take you back into time.

NOTE : For the ones who want to take a step further and see more of the treasures bought out into the light during the excavations, there is also a museum on the island, which houses amongst other objects, a rich and beautiful collection of Ancient Greek and Roman statues. Walking though its halls ,the uniqueness and development of ancient Greek and Roman Sculpture is brought to life before you…and one can observe how a hard and lifeless material like marble , was somehow magically transformed into such intangible qualities as poise, mood, and grace…

17/04/2022