The small rocky islet of Delos is part of the Cyclades and is located a few miles south-west of Mykonos Greece. According to mythology, Delos is the birthplace of Apollo, god of music, of true and light, and his twin sister Artemis, goddess of hunting. The child's mother was Leto who was seduced by Zeus, as many goddesses, nymphs and mortals were; when Hera, Zeus wife, learn about Leto's pregnancy, she banned her from all the places of the earth so she couldn't give birth. The only place for Leto to give birth was the little island of Delos, then called Ortygia (Quail Island) which wasn't considered as part of the earth and which was revealed by Poseidon, who came to help his brother and his brother's lover. This gave to the island its name for Delos means revealed. Because the islands around Delos were lining in the shape of a circle, the whole group of island was called the Cyclades. Leto managed to give birth to her twins, Apollo and Artemis and the island is, from then, dedicated to the beautiful god. This is the reason why Delos was considered as the most important Pan-Hellenic sanctuary during Ancient Times and that the ancient Greeks built a lot of amazing temples, sanctuaries and statues in this island called the Sacred Island. The first inhabitants of the island were Cares or Phoenicians (3rd millennium BC). In 1100 BC, Delos was inhabited by the Ionians and it was they who brought the worship of the god Apollo. The Ionians also managed to develop the island into a powerful commercial and spiritual centre (7th century BC). During the 5th century BC, the Athenians organized what they called a purification of the island, forbidding the burials of the dead on it. A new purification followed in the 4th century BC, and this time the Athenians forbade all the births and deaths on the island of Delos, transferring all the dead to the neighbouring island of Rhenia, which became a necropolis. After this last purification, a great religious ceremony in favour of Apollo was organized every five years. Then, Delos came under the protection of the Ptolemies of Egypt, successors of Alexander the Great. The Roman Period was the most prosperous and wealthy period for Delos which turned the island into an important port. But, in 88 BC, the King of Pontos who was against the Romans completely destroyed Delos and Mykonos. The history of Delos remains completely unknown after this period as there are no historical facts. The excavations that brought to light rich archaeological finds in Delos started in 1873 and continue to be carried out by the French School of Archaeology. The island of Delos became part of the World's Cultural Heritage and is protected by UNESCO. It is reachable by taxi-boat from the island of Mykonos (20 minutes).
Location, log/Lat: 37.3962623,25.2689412
Delos Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum of Delos was built way back in the year 1904. The construction of this famous museum was carried out under the aegis of the Archaeological Society of Athens. Initially the museum was spread over just five rooms. It was much later in the year 1931 and again in 1972 that further rooms were added. At present the historical artifacts are on display in nine rooms. There are six exclusive rooms where rare historical statues unearthed from the archaeological site at Delos are on display. Another set of two rooms two display the fascinating collections of pottery dating back to the prehistoric times. And last but not the least, there is a room exclusively dedicated to displaying objects of art that are meant for everyday use. The Ivory Plaque which dates back to 1400-1200 BC is absolutely stunning. The plaque portrays a quintessential Mycenaean soldier with defensive shield and a rather elongated spear. The soldier's head is covered by a protective headgear which is made of teeth of a wild boar. This rare plaque was unearthed from under the debris at Artemision along with numerous other artifacts made of gold, ivory and bronze. Another notable attraction of the Archaeological Museum of Delos is the trunk of a Kouros. It was recovered from an asylum in Apollo and dates back to the 6th century. There is the marble statue of Boreas which artistically portrays the infamous kidnapping of the then Athenian princess Oreithya. It is one of the finest specimen of Attic art and dates back to the 5th century. The marble statues of Dioscourides and Kleopatra too are conspicuous by their presence. Dioscourides and Kleopatra were Athenian couple who lived on Delos island. The statues were discovered from the couple's residence and there is also an inscription on the pedestal which is believed to have been put in place by none other than Kleopatra way back in 138 B.C. The marble statue of Apollo, which is on display at the museum, is conspicuous by its distinct Apollo Lyceios features which was patronized by the renowned sculptor Praxiteles. The statue artistically depicts a mythological god inclining on a tree and striding on a bundle of Gallic shields. Archaeologists and scholars are of the opinion that the marble statue of Apollo on display at the museum is a miniature version of the statue of Delphi which was created exclusively to celebrate the hard fought victory against the mighty Galls. This marvelous marble statue was discovered from a private residence and is believed to belong to the 2nd century BC. The bronze mask of Dionysos is another notable attraction of the museum. The craftsman has artistically portrayed a bearded mythological god wearing a crown and an ivy garland. This priceless bronze mask was discovered at the Market of the Competaliasts and is believed to belong to the 2nd century B.C.
Location, log/Lat: 37.4011251,25.2692191