The sacred island of Delos was, in the myths, the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. Today the island is uninhabited: it is a vast archaeological site whose superb monuments
draw thousands of visitors in pilgrimage to what was, for a thousand years or so starting from the ninth century BC, the political and religious centre of the Aegean.
The archaeological site covers almost the entire island, starting on the west side, where the sacred harbour was. From the harbour, a majestic sacred way led to the Sanctuary of Apollo, where there were temples, altars, votive offerings and other buildings. There are ruins of four temples to Apollo, one of them known as the Temple of the Athenians. To the east is the Sanctuary of the Bulls, an oblong building, and to the north are the Treasuries and the long, narrow Stoa of Antigonus. In the north-west corner is the much smaller Sanctuary of Artemis, with an Ionic temple to the goddess, and the Tomb of the Two Hyperborean Maidens. Still further north is the region of the sacred lake, with the famous Terrace of the Lions, the Letoon, the Agora of the Italians and the Institution of the Poseidoniasts of Berytos.
A little farther on are some fine examples of houses and a palaestra. To the north-east of the lake are the Stadium and the Gymnasium. Some of the houses yielded superb mosaic floors with representations of Dionysus, a dolphin and a trident. A narrow channel separates Delos from Rhenia, where there is an important burial ground.
The museum of Delos houses sculptures of the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods, together with a collection of vases from various periods.
Access to Delos is by caique, principally from nearby Mykonos but also from other Cycladic islands.
Mykonos Port Authority, tel.: 22890 22218
Useful telephone numbers
Delos Archaeological site: 22890 22259
Delos Museum: 22890 22259