INFORMATION ABOUT DILOS ISLAND
Ancient Delos, is the holy island of antiquity with important history. According to mythology the island was created from the rage of sea-god Poseidon who raised waves from the Aegean Sea to offer shelter to Leto who was pregnant with Apollo and Artemis and being persecuted by Hera.
In Delos are saved up to today discoveries from the biggest and most impressive organised settlements of Greek-Roman antiquity. First inhabited in the third millennium B.C., most likely by the Carians, the island by the 10th century B.C. had emerged as a religious centre and seat of the Great Amphictyony. In the late sixth century B.C., the island was under Athenian rule. In 540 B.C. Peisistratus orders the first “cleansing” of the island, while during the second, in 426 B.C., the remains of all the dead of Delos were transferred to neighbouring Rineia; births and deaths on the island are banned from this point forward to preserve the sanctity of Apollo’s temple.
With the arrival of the Macedonians in 315 B.C., the island attains independence and the ability to develop commercially. Later, the Romans’ presence attracted the Egyptians, Syrians, and Italians, spurring the island’s growth even more; in 88 B.C., during the raids by Mithridates wars, the island suffers two devastating attacks that push it into decline and lead to its eventual abandonment in the sixth century B.C.
Ancient Delos is the gem of Mykonos. Nothing compares with the impact of seeing the sun set over ancient Delos. The admirable deserted place has been changed in an entire city with streets and market, public buildings, luxurious houses and shops. The historical elements are obvious in the city, temples, cisterns and mosaics compose the unique picture combining the ancient beauty with the modern life. The setting is drenched in the light cast by the god Apollo as the ruins of the ancient city spread between Kynthos Hill and the ancient harbour with its pristine waters, creating the impression that the city was just recently abandoned.
Excavations on the island were begun in 1873 by the French Archaeological School, which brought to light the extensive ruins of this once-glittering centre.
The archaeological Museum of Delos is one of the most important museums in Greece. Delos and Rineia are protected by the Ministry of Culture and anchorage or overnight stays are not allowed without authorization.