Mykonos Delos Island

Location: Delos

Mykonos Delos, the Sacred Island of Antiquity: The island of Delos plays a major role in ancient Greek history, especially politically and spiritually. It was blessed with a great geopolitical location, as the epicenter of the Cyclades complex. In fact, the name "Cyclades" translates into "those who encircle [Delos]".

First inhabited by the Carians in the 3rd millennium BC, it was approximately at the beginning of 1000 BC that Delos first became a worship destination of ancient Greeks. Around the same time, it was declared the epicenter of the Aegean islands' Alliance. Almost six centuries later, the Athenians attempted to dominate the sacred island.

The island's first major 'Purification' was implemented by the tyrant Peisistratus in 540 BC. It wasn't until the second and final 'Purification' in 426 BC that all remnants of Delian tombs were unearthed and relocated to the nearby islet of Rhenia. Since then, no births or deaths were allowed on Delos, respecting the sacred island of Apollo and Artemis.

After a series of conquests and commercial growth, Delos declined and was deserted in the 6th century AD.

Many centuries later, in 1873, the French Archaeological School commenced the excavations that brought the archaeological site to light, bestowing the rich Delian history upon the modern generations.

Nowadays, the pristine Archaeological Museum of Delos is one of the most significant in Greece, with a collection of sculptures, mosaics, and artifacts of both Delos and Rhenia. Both islands are under the guidance of the Ministry of Culture, which states that only vessels with special permission may dock on the island. Overnight stays are prohibited.

Since 1990 Delos has claimed its place in the list of World Cultural Heritage and is protected by UNESCO.

Delian Archaeological Site & Important Monuments

The plethora of ancient findings along with the elaborate style of the island will dazzle and impress every visitor. As a religious and political island, Delos features an intricate Apollonian sanctuary, with many Minoan and Macedonian structures around it.

Furthermore, in the north lie the sanctuaries of Leto and the Twelve Gods, while in the south lie the sanctuaries of Artemis. Interestingly enough, sanctuaries of Aphrodite, Hera, and lesser Greek deities can be found on Delos. More sanctuaries and commercial structures (treasuries, markets, public buildings) can be witnessed, too. The Naxian and Athenian influences are evident in the remains of their structures and sculptures as well.

Some of the major monuments that can be visited on Delos are:

  • Agora of Hermaists/ Competaliasts, next to the Sacred Harbor
  • Temple of Delia (Great Temple) in the Apollonian sanctuary
  • Minoa Fountain, dedicated to the Minoan Nymphs
  • Avenue of the Lions, a Naxian tribute to Apollo’s sanctuary
  • The Theater, a large open amphitheater
  • Temple of Isis, in the Mount Kynthos Sanctuary of the Foreign Gods
  • Temple of Hera, built atop an earlier temple
  • Residence of Dionysus, a great example of Delian private houses

 

The Mythic Side of Delos

According to Greek mythology, Delos used to be an invisible rock floating in the Aegean, not belonging to the physical, known world. When the Titaness (female Titan) Leto was pregnant with the twin deities Apollo (god of light, music, and purity) and Artemis (goddess of wild animals, hunting, and chastity) by Zeus, his wife Hera presented an overwhelming obstacle blinded by jealousy, she banned Leto from all earthen places, so that she couldn’t birth her children.

Zeus then pleaded with his brother Poseidon (god of the ocean) to tie down Delos for Leto’s sake. The Titaness then held onto the island’s only palm tree, giving birth to Artemis and, nine days later, to Apollo. It was said that when the god emerged, Delos shone in light and flowers bloomed all over it. Hera then spared Leto, as her children claimed their place on Mount Olympus and protected their mother as well.

Top Tours and activities

  • Best Seller

    Original Tour to Delos

    Category: Half-day, Boat Tours
    Show description

    Visit the sacred island of Delos, one of the most significant archeological sites in the Cyclades, with a long history that dates back to ancient Greece! Delos is linked to many aspects of Greek mythology and this is the perfect opportunity to get to know its history better.

    5 hours Map
    from € 60.00
    Book now
  • Best Seller

    Sunset Catamaran tour to Rhenia island

    Category: Sunset, Day Trips, Boat Tours
    Show description

    Enjoy this semi-private afternoon/sunset catamaran tour to the secluded island of Rhenia: swim in crystal waters and gaze at the romantic sunset on the way back.

    5 hours Map
    from € 250.00
    Book now
  • One day yacht cruise to Rhenia island

    Category: Day Trips, Boat Tours
    Show description

    Rhenia island is a must if you would like to spend some time relaxing away from the crowded parts of Mykonos. This 6-hour yacht cruise will allow you to enjoy the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea and visit the totally unspoiled and secluded beaches of Rhenia.

    6 hours Map
    from € 110.00
    Book now

How to get there

Delos island is located next to Mykonos.

Tours: Explore Delos island with an organized tour at the best price.
Tours to Delos depart from the Old port of Mykonos. Note that there are two central bus stations in Mykonos town: Fabrika and Old Port. The Old port can be reached by bus from different villages of the island. Otherwise, you can reach Old Port on foot from Fabrika (a 15-minute walk).

Private Boat: You can reach the island with a private or rented vessel.

Map

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