A trip back in time to ancient Greece at Delos island
Why not travel back in time for a day during your luxury yacht charter in Greece? Visit Delos, a tiny uninhabited island near Mykonos.
Why not travel back in time for a day during your luxury yacht charter in Greece? Visit Delos, a tiny uninhabited island near Mykonos, in the sparkling Aegean Sea. It is the stunning centerpiece of a circle of beautiful Greek islands called the Cyclades. Did you know that at one time, Delos was so sacred that mothers close to giving birth were shipped out to the neighboring island of Rineia? It seems things have gone full circle, as currently the only inhabitants of the island are the archaeologists working on the ruins, which makes Delos a peaceful destination. Your captain will anchor your yacht in the perfect spot and arrange for you to be brought to Delos by tender to start your adventure!
With more excavations than any other site in the Mediterranean, stunning ruins and an incredible insight into ancient Greek civilization, Delos is one of the most important historical, archaeological and mythological sites in Greece. You and your loved ones will be able to walk amongst the remains of temples, marketplaces, houses, statues and sculptures.
The island was first inhabited by the Greeks, from around 3000 BC. Around 800 BC the island became a shrine to the god Apollo and eventually it became a multicultural trading center. Under Roman rule, Delos became an important duty-free port and a slave market but by 300 AD, after the trade routes moved on, Delos was completely abandoned.
Delos Greek Mythology
According to Greek mythology, Delos is the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo, the twin offspring of Zeus and Leto. When Hera discovered that Leto was pregnant by her husband Zeus, she banished Leto in a jealous rage and decreed that she would never give birth anywhere on this earth. Zeus pleaded with his brother Poseidon to find somewhere for her to have her baby. Poseidon took pity on her and offered Delos as a safe haven. Artemis, goddess of the hunt and virginity was born first and then nine days later Apollo, god of light, truth and music made his appearance and thus begins our Delos mythology. Their births rendered the island sacred: no mortal would ever be allowed to be born on its land.
Delos, in ancient Greek, means brought to light which is only fitting as it is Apollo’s birthplace. Delos is also known as the Isle of Light and it definitely seems to have a clarity and luminosity of light to it. This means it’s a dream to photograph. The pale golds of the stonework and Delos ruins compliment the blue skies and seas perfectly, giving it a soft appearance.
The entire island is designated as an archaeological site, to be precise, a UNESCO world heritage site. If you love culture, you could spend half a lifetime exploring Delos island and still be coming back for more. It is an extraordinary insight into power struggles, religion, art, commerce and everyday life during ancient times. The island is literally an open-air museum. Exploring the site, you will feel like walking through a story, told by a bewildering number of sanctuaries and statues, as well as public and private buildings and the artefacts they once contained. To put it all into context and take it all in, climb the hill on Delos called Kynthos and be stunned by the panoramic view from here.
The Temple of Delians
Apollo was probably really pleased with the Delians. Three temples were dedicated to the god of the sun, the largest of which is The Temple of Delians, also known as the Great Temple. Built between 476 and 314 BC, it is an example of Doric architecture, with colonnades on all four sides. Only remnants of the colossal Kouros of Apollo that once stood next to it are left, but there are other well-preserved places of worship, amongst them the Temple of Hera and the Temple of Isis. These sacred temples can be found in the Sanctuary of the Foreign Gods, at the foot of Mount Kynthos.
The Terrace of Lions
Possibly the best known image from Delos is the Terrace of Lions. Today only seven of the dozen or so marble lions remain, some almost complete, others only in part, but the grandeur of the avenue of sculptures gifted as a tribute by the Naxians is clear for all to see. The lions are replicas but the originals are showcased in the island’s museum.
The Ancient Theatre
What will impress you mostly while visiting Delos, is how the ancient world comes to life on this island. The Ancient Theatre is not just a well-preserved 5,500-seat amphitheater. Its location, with wonderful sea views, was clearly part of the experience back in the day, when visiting the theatre. The Theatre Quarter was once home to the wealthiest inhabitants of Delos and you will be able to admire the remains of many mansions here. It was obviously the place to live on the island! The narrow, winding streets are paved with slate slabs and the dwellings stand almost five meters high with at least one upper floor. Outside, you can find pillared courtyards and colorful mosaic floors. The most impressive of the many residences is the House of Dionysus, famous for its intricate floor mosaic of Dionysus riding a tiger.
On your way back to the tender, stop by the Archaeological Museum. There are yet more mosaics to see, along with murals, furniture, vessels and other interesting artefacts.
After saying goodbye to this tranquil and stunningly beautiful island it is time to enjoy the cobalt blue Aegean Sea. Remember the island of Rineia? Your captain will set sail to this inhabited island and drop the anchor to have some fun in the crystal clear water here! How about some snorkeling or kayaking? Or are you up for some more action and ready to take the jet ski for a spin? The crew will take the water toys out and make sure your favorite cocktails are waiting for you to enjoy with a backdrop of the island you just visited during your trip back in time!
Back at your yacht, try to spot your new favorite restaurants when you sail around the island one more time before heading to your next destination!
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