island in Cyclades, is an island-museum!
The complex of buildings of Delos compares with those of Delphi and
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.
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
At the north end was an altar built of the horns of animal sacrifices.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
(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
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.