Delos; Island of Harmony and Light

Delos; Island of Harmony and Light



Delos has been declared as a World Cultural Heritage Monument since 1990. A small dot on the world map, with a length of only 5 km and width of 1,300 m., the holly island where Apollo and Artemis were born is located in the heart of the Aegean. According to mythology, the holy island of the ancient Greeks was revealed to the pregnant woman Leto who was persecuted by Hera through the Aegean waves.

The ruins of one of the largest and most impressive organized settlements of Greco-Roman antiquity are preserved in good condition today in Delos.

The island was firstly inhabited in the third millennium BC, possibly by Carians. It is converted in the early 10th century BC to worship center and headquarter of Aegean big amphictyone. At the late 6th century BC the Athenians tend to dominate the sacred island.  Already in 540 BC, Peisistratos decides its first clearance, while with the second one, in 426 BC, all the bones of the dead of Delos are transferred to the neighboring island of Rinia and births and deaths are no longer allowed on the island of Apollo, so as not to taint his Sanctuary.

With the advent of Macedonians in 315 BC, the island becomes independent and is able to develop commercially.

It is estimated that at the beginning of the 1st century BC, Delos was inhabited by approximately 30,000 people and that at the island’s ports 750,000 tons of goods could be handled annually.

The installation of the Romans later, results the massive coming of Egyptians, Syrians and Italians and the further development of the island until 88 BC where during the Mithridatic wars, accepts two terrible attacks and begins to decline until its final abandonment in the 6th AD century.

Centuries passed since then, until in 1873 the French Archaeological School began excavations at the archaeological site and Delos came back to the surface, revealing its rich history all around the world.

The Archaeological Museum of Delos is today one of the most important ones in Greece, with rare exhibits including sculptures, pottery, inscriptions, magnificent mosaics etc. Delos and Rhenia are under the protection of the Ministry of Culture and mooring boats as well as overnight stay of people without special permission are prohibited.

A unique sculpture exhibition covering the whole spectrum from the Archaic to the Roman period, superb mosaics, ceramics, utilitarian objects of private life, miniature art and jewelry etc. are some of the sections of the museum’s rich exhibits.

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English edition

English edition