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DELOS ISLAND CYCLADES GREECE

Delos (Dilos) island, the birthplace of God Apollo and Goddess Artemis

Dilos Island Greece / Photo GalleryDelos island in Cyclades, is an island-museum!
The complex of buildings of Delos compares with those of Delphi and Olympia.
Among Delos' most noted sculptural artifacts are fragments of a colossal Apollo and nine marble lions.
Four main groups of ruins are distinguishable on the west coast: the commercial port and small sanctuaries; the religious city of Apollo, a sanctuary; the sanctuaries of Mount Cynthos and the theatre, and the region of the Sacred Lake.
Behind the Sacred Harbour begins the paved Sacred, or Processional, Way, 13 m wide.

Dilos Island Greece / Click Image to enlargeTo the west stood a sacred precinct, or shrine, and on the east a terrace with three important temples. The Doric temple of Apollo (mid-5th to 3rd century BC) has plain frieze motifs, scant sculptural decoration, and no interior colonnade. Adjoining it is a Doric Athenian temple (425-417 BC); the third is the Porinos Naos.
Beyond this complex is a sanctuary, an unusual elongated structure in two sections.
At the north end was an altar built of the horns of animal sacrifices.

Delos Island Greece - The TheatreTo the east was the temple of Dionysus, on the other side a large commercial exchange that had a temple of Aphrodite and Hermes. Behind the commercial harbour were docks and warehouses; behind them lay the private houses of the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, each featuring a court surrounded by columns and many paved with mosaic. The theatre (early 3rd century BC) lay beyond the commercial harbour, on the lower slope of Mount Cynthus; its summit has remains of ancient Cycladic dwellings (3rd millennium BC) and a small precinct of Kynthios Zeus (Cynthian Zeus) and Athena.

Delos, in ancient Greek, means clear, brought to light. The beautiful myth states that, Delos, the island of sun, appeared from Amid waves when Leto, who was being pursued by Hera, took refuge there and brought Apollo and Artemis into the world. The birth of Apollo, the god of sun, on this island, is undoubtedly related to the morphology of Delos.

Dilos island Greece - MuseumIt is a small island, rocky and barren, where light dominates from the first moments of the breaking day until dusk, as neither high mountain masses nor silhouettes of trees shut out its perfect reflection. The ruins of the settlement, spread about all over the island, the surviving marble columns, the theater, the gymnasium, as well as the pieces of the most important creations of mosaic art witnessed the island's glorious history.

It seems that the first inhabitants were Carians and their settlements date back to the third millennium. At the beginning of the 10th century B.C., after Ionians had arrived on the island, Delos was transformed into a religious center and into the center of Ionic amphictyonia, creating thus the preconditions for its commercial development, increasing at the same time its political influence. Athenians dominated not only Delos but also the majority of Aegean islands and took control over the whole area in the middle of the 6th century B.C.

Delos Island GreeceAround 540 B.C. Pisistratus, the tyrant of Athens, ordered the removal of all graves from Delos to the small island nearby, called Rheneia. Since then all births and burials have been banned on Delos, in order not to desecrate this sacred place. Another expression of Athenians' religious respect towards Apollo, was the brilliant festival, which was being organized in honour of the island's god, every five years. The domination of Athenians over the island ended when Macedonians arrived on Delos in 315 B.C. Their presence signaled the island's independence and its commercial growth and wealth.

Dilos Island Greece / Click Image to enlargeDelos was conquered by the Romans who declared it a free port, transforming the island into a very significant trade centre. It attracted Egyptians, Syrians and Italians. During the war declared by Mithridates (88 B.C.) Delos was attacked twice and from that moment began a countdown that resulted to the island's total depopulation. In 1873 the French Archeological School began official excavations on Delos, bringing to light its glorious past, worthy of admiration all over the world.

" Happiness is the best, noblest and most pleasant thing in the world, and these attributes are not severed as in the inscription at Delos: Most noble is that which is justest, and best is health; But pleasantest is it to win what we love."
(Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics)

" Chief isle of the embowered Cyclades, Rejoice, O Delos, with thine olives green, And poplars, and lawn-shading palms, and beech, In which the Zephyr breathes the loudest song, And hazels thick, dark-stemm'd beneath the shade: Apollo is once more the golden theme! "
(John Keats, Hyperion - A Fragment, Book III)

In Dilos there are not any hotels or rooms, you can not even camp.
See hotels, villas & apartments in nearby Mykonos, wherefrom daily journeys to Delos are arranged.

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