Cyclades-Dilos

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General Information for Dilos

Dilos The island of Apollo and Artemis - the tiny, uninhabited archeological site - is one of the few places the world over that has become the pole of attraction to throngs of visitors coming only for few hours, to venerate the place, which in the 9th century BC and for approximately a millennium was the religious and political centre of the Aegean. Coming from Mykonos - the closest island to Delos - by boat, you see the extended-almost the entire length of the island- Archeological site, starting from the western side where the harbor used to be in ancient times. From the harbor there was the magnificent sacred road that led to the Sanctuary of Apollo.

To the east there is the Temple of the Bulls, a long narrow structure, while north there are the Treasuries and the Arcade of Antigonos, northwest you see the smaller sanctuary of Artemis with the Ionian-style temple of the goddess.

Further north there is the area of the sacred lake, where the Terrace of the Lions - the celebrated marble lions offered by the island of Naxos - line the Sacred Way leading to the other temples (only five of the original nine lions remain a sixth stands guard in front of the Arsenal in Venice) and the Sacred Kythnos Hill, where Leto (pregnanted by Zeus), found refuge in Delos from the wrath of Hera and gave birth to Apollo and his twin sister Artemis.

Delos, originally was known as Ortyghia (island of quails/ortykia) and was inhabited since the 3rd century BC. Later became a colony of the Ionians and eventually gained influence and became the spiritual center of the Cyclades. Athens became a member and every year sent a delegation to participate in the observance of the Delians (games honoring Apollo).

The visitor today is dazzled by the intense light and the treasured past of the ruined island. The legend at the entrance of the site will direct you to the most important monuments and the exhibits of the museum will definitely enhance your knowledge of Delos' glorious history. Be advised that the sun is fierce, sunglasses a hat and a cold water container a must. In addition, since only few support people still live on the island, snakes (some poisonous) and other reptiles roam around and heed is of essence.