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 after
the ninth century BC, the political and religious
centre of the Aegean.
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, buildings. There
are ruins of four temples to Apollo, one of them
known as the Temple of the Athenians.
To the eas 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 norht
is the region of the sacred lake, with the Terace
of the Lions, the Letoon, the Agora of the Italians
and the Institution of the Poseidoniast of Berytos.
A little further
along are some fine examples of houses and a palaestra.
To the norht-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.
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