As we were taking a ferry across the Grecian Sea, my daughter who was 18 at the time said “No wonder people wrote stories about crossing the sea in Greece”. I remember when she said that because I thought to myself “She’s right!”. The both of us looking out at the deep blue sea, riding the choppy waves with the hard winds at our faces- she was absolutely correct. One can only imagine the stories that were created in the minds of those who came before and rode the same waves.
There are many stories and myths written about the Ancient Greeks, one of the most important myths was the Island of Delos. According to Greek mythology, the island of Delos is where Leto found refuge in order to give birth to Apollo and Artemis. There was no water or signs of life on the island which gave Leto a perfect place to give birth. She was seeking refuge and hiding from Hera, the wife of Zeus (the father of Apollo and Artemis). Many believe that Zeus asked his brother Poseidon to create the Island for Leto as the word “Delos” means “appearance” in Ancient Greek. Just from the premise of the story, you can see why the Island of Delos has importance and became an important archaeological site.
Many centuries ago people lived on Delos dating back to the Bronze Age (3500 BC). Over the centuries Delos became a religious site, meeting place, trade port for slavery and so on. As of now, Delos is deserted and no one inhabits the island. It is primarily a day trip tourist destination and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Lions of Delos
The Avenue of the Lions that stand guard on the island are replicas. To view the original marble lions, they are inside the Delos Archaeology Museum on the island to preserve them from further erosion.
The lions were put in place around 6th or 7th century and were dedicated to the Sanctuary of Apollo. It is believed that there was originally up to nineteen lions in place but only four remain.
Delos Archaeology Museum
There is a small museum on the island that houses artwork, sculptures and other artifacts that were excavated from Delos. Inside the museum you will also find the original marble Lions of Delos.
Getting to Delos
Mykonos is the most common departure point for Mykonos. Although during ‘High Season’, other island such as Naxos and Paros will have ferries to Delos.
We took a a ferry to Delos from Mykonos’s Old Harbor and purchased our tickets online. It was easier to have the tickets on hand when we arrived but you can also purchase them at the Old Harbor. When we arrived we were given information of the excavation sights and we were able to see the island without a guide.
If you want to have an organized tour group take you to Delos, there are online sights that you can book with. Another option is by private charter and you can ask your hotel prior if they know of any reputable guides with their own boat.
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