If you have ever read or heard about the myths and legends of Ancient Greece, then you must have come across the island of Delos. The island is known for its rich history and is considered to be one of the most sacred places in Greek mythology.
What is Delos?
Delos is a small island located in the Aegean Sea. It was believed to be the birthplace of Apollo, the god of sun, music, and prophecy, and his twin sister Artemis, the goddess of hunt and wilderness. Due to its association with these two gods, Delos became an important center for religious worship in Ancient Greece.
The History of Delos
The history of Delos dates back to at least 2500 BCE when it was first inhabited by the Cycladic people. However, it wasn’t until 478 BCE that the island gained importance as a religious center when Athens declared it as a free port.
During this time, various temples and sanctuaries were built on Delos to honor different gods and goddesses. These included the Temple of Apollo, Temple of Artemis, Temple of Leto (mother of Apollo and Artemis), Sanctuary of Dionysus (god of wine), and many more.
Delos also became an important commercial center during this time due to its strategic location in the Aegean Sea. It was a hub for trade between Greece, Asia Minor, Egypt, and Rome.
However, with the decline of Athens as a major power in Greece in 338 BCE followed by several invasions by pirates and other groups over the centuries that followed led to Delos’ eventual decline as well.
Visiting Delos Today
Despite its decline over time, Delos still holds immense significance for those interested in Greek mythology and history. Today visitors can explore various ruins on the island including temples, sanctuaries, houses with beautiful mosaics, and the ancient theater.
One of the most impressive sites on Delos is the Terrace of the Lions. It is a row of marble lions that served as guardians to the Sacred Lake and was built in 600 BCE by the people of Naxos.
To get to Delos, visitors can take a ferry from nearby Mykonos. The island is open daily from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm except for Mondays.
- Admission Fees:
- Adults- €12
- Students- €6
- Children under 18- Free
- Guided tours are also available for an additional fee.
Delos is a small island with a rich history that is worth exploring for anyone interested in Greek mythology and history. Its association with Apollo and Artemis makes it an important religious center in Ancient Greece, while its strategic location made it an important commercial hub as well. Today, visitors can explore various ruins on the island and experience what life was like on Delos during its heyday.