Delos

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Investigation of ancient stone huts found on the island indicate that it has been inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC. Thucydides identifies the original inhabitants as piratical Carians who were eventually expelled by King Minos of Crete By the time of the Odyssey the island was already famous as the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis. Indeed between 900 BC and AD 100, sacred Delos was a major cult centre, where Dionysus is also in evidence as well as the Titaness Leto, mother of the above mentioned twin deities.

A number of "purifications" were executed by the city-state of Athens in an attempt to render the island fit for the proper worship of the gods.

How to get There

By boat :There are daily routes (except Monday )because the archaelogical site is closed.Routes are available from Mykonos but also from other Cycladic Islands (Tinos and Naxos).
 
From the old port and in particular from the southern pier that exists after the building of the Municipalityof Mykonos departing for the following vessels are departing for delos:

  1. ORKA
  2. DILOS EXPRESS
  3. MARGARITA X.

From Mykonos to Delos on:09.00 10:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m.Back from Delos to:12.15 13.30 15.00(daily except Monday)The ticket price is 12.50 euros including return, and can be purchased from travel agents and the kiosk outside of these ships.
The entrance to the archaeological site costs EUR 5.
 
Admission free, for the following days:

  • Mar. 6 - Memory of Melina Mercouri
  • June 5 - World Environment Day
  • April 18 - International Day of Monuments 
  • May 18 - International Museum Day
  • The last weekend September each year (European Heritage Days)
  • Sundays, during the period from Nov. 1 to March 31
  • Public holidays of the State
  • On the first Sunday of each month, except for the months of July, August and September(when the first Sunday is a public holiday as a day of free entry defines the second Sunday)
  • 27 September, World Tourism Dayand
  • Persons entitled to acquire « free entry Ticket » for three years with right of renewal.

For any other information you can contact at:Passenger Ship consortium Mykonos - Delos.Tel +30 2289023051 & +30 6978.830355
Mykonos Port AuthorityAddress: GialosCall Center: +30 22890 22218

History of Delos

Investigation of ancient stone huts found on the island indicate that it has been inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC. Thucydides identifies the original inhabitants as piratical Carians who were eventually expelled by King Minos of Crete By the time of the Odyssey the island was already famous as the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis. Indeed between 900 BC and AD 100, sacred Delos was a major cult centre, where Dionysus is also in evidence as well as the Titaness Leto, mother of the above mentioned twin deities.

A number of "purifications" were executed by the city-state of Athens in an attempt to render the island fit for the proper worship of the gods. The first took place in the 6th century BC, directed by the tyrant Pisistratus who ordered that all graves within site of the temple be dug up and the bodies removed to perimeter locations. In the 5th century, during the 6th year of the Peloponnesian war and under instruction from the Delphic Oracle, the entire island was purged of all dead bodies. It was then ordered that no one should be allowed to either die or give birth on the island due to its sacred importance and to preserve its neutrality in commerce, since no one could then claim ownership through inheretance. Immediately after this purification, the first quinquennial festival of the Delian games were celebrated there.After the Persian wars the island became the natural meeting-ground for the Delian League, founded in 478 BC, the congresses being held in the temple (a separate quarter was reserved for foreigners and the sanctuaries of foreign deities.) The League's common treasury was kept here as well until 454 BC when Pericles removed it to Athens.Since 1873 the Ecole Franηaise d'Athenes ("French School of Athens") has been excavating the island, the complex of buildings of which compares with those of Delphi and Olympia.The island had no productive capacity for food, fiber, or timber, with such being imported. Limited water was exploited with an extensive cistern and aqueduct system, wells, and sanitary drains. Various regions operated agoras (markets). The largest slave market in the larger region was also maintained here.In 1990, UNESCO inscribed Delos on the World Heritage List, citing it as the "exceptionally extensive and rich" archaeological site which "conveys the image of a great cosmopolitan Mediterranean port".

ATTRACTIONS

  • The small Sacred Lake in its circular bowl, now dry, is a topographical feature that determined the placement of later features.
  • The Minoan Fountain was a rectangular public well hewn in the rock, with a central column; it formalized the sacred spring in its present 6th century BC form, reconstructed in 166 BC, according to an inscription. Tightly-laid courses of masonry form the walls; water can still be reached by a flight of steps that fill one side.    
  • There are several market squares. The Hellenistic Agora of the Competaliasts by the Sacred Harbour retains the postholes for market awnings in its stone paving. Two powerful Italic merchant guilds dedicated statues and columns there.    
  • The Temple of the Delians is a classic example of the Doric order; a pen-and-wash reconstruction of the temple is illustrated at Doric order 
  • The Terrace of the Lions dedicated to Apollo by the people of Naxos shortly before 600 BC, had originally nine to twelve squatting, snarling marble guardian lions along the Sacred Way; one is inserted over the main gate to the Venetian Arsenal. The lions create a monumental avenue comparable to Egyptian avenues of sphinxes. (There is a Greek sphinx in the Delos Museum.)    
  • The meeting hall of the Poseidoniasts of Beirut housed an association of merchant, warehousemen, shipowners and innkeepers during the early years of Roman hegemony, late 2nd century BC. To their protective triad of Baal/Poseidon, Astarte/Aphrodite and Echmoun/Asklepios, they added Roma.    
  • The platform of the Stoibadeion dedicated to Dionysus bears a statue of the god of wine and the life-force. On either side of the platform, a pillar supports a colossal phallus, the symbol of Dionysus. The southern pillar, which is decorated with relief scenes from the Dionysiac circle, was erected ca. 300 BC to celebrate a winning theatrical performance. The statue of Dionysus was originally flanked by those of two actors impersonating Paposilenoi (conserved in the Delos Museum). The marble theatre is a rebuilding of an older one, undertaken shortly after 300 BC.    
  • The Doric Temple of Isis was built at the beginning of the Roman period to venerate the familiar trinity of Isis, the Alexandrian Serapis and Anubis.    
  • The Temple of Hera, ca 500 BC, is a rebuilding of an earlier Heraion on the site.    
  • The House of Dionysus is a luxurious 2nd century private house named for the floor mosaic of Dionysus riding a panther.    
  • The House of the Dolphins is similarly named from its atrium mosaic, where erotes ride dolphins; its Phoenician owner commissioned a floor mosaic of Tanit in his vestibule.
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