Delos is the
Sacred Island of the Ancient Greek, which
according to mythology, was revealed among the
waves of the Aegean to Leto, who was being
chased by the jealous Hero; it was the refuge
where she gave birth to Apollo and Artemis.
On Delos are found the admirably well-preserved
ruins of one of the largest, most significant,
and best- organized ancient Greek settlements.
The island was first settled, probably by the
Kares, about the 3rd millennium B.C. In the
beginning of the 8th cent. B.C. it developed
into a center of worship and was the capital
city of an amphictyony of Aegean island.
At the end of the 6th cent B.C., the tendency of
the Athenians was to take over the island: IN
540 B.C. Peisistratos ordered the first
purification of the sanctuary. As a result of
the second purification (426 B.C.) the entire
contents of all the islands graves were remove
to neighboring Rhenia. Afterwards in order to
prevent desecration of the sanctuary, both
births and deaths were forbidden on the island
The Athenians consecrated the first “Delia”
dedicated to Leto, Artemis, and Apollo. In 315
B.C., when Macedonians arrived on the island,
Delos achieved its independence and developed
During the Roman period, the island thrived,
until, until 88 B.C.; the population included
Egyptians, Syrians and Italians. Then, after two
dreadful attacks during the Mithridatic War,
Delos went into decline and was finally
abandoned in the 6th cent A.D.
In the 1873 the French Archaeological School of
Athens started excavations and restoration
enabling the wealth of the islands history to be
revealed to everyone who is interested. The
Archaeological Museum of Delos house one of
Greece’s most significant collections, including
rare exhibits of ancient sculpture ceramic
vessels, epigraphs and wonderful mosaics etc.
The sites of Delos and Rhenia are under the
protection of the Ministry of Culture; thus,
both the mooring of private boats there and
staying overnight without official permission
are strictly forbidden.