The sacred island of Apollo, the god of Light

Delos is the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis and was the largest city in the world at one point. Its history goes back to 3000 BC. The myth of god Apollo and goddess Artemis having been born there rendered the island sacred: no mortal would ever be allowed to be born on its land. But, a cradle of gods as the island has been, no mortals would ever be allowed to die on it either. So, apart from it being a conspicuous religious and economic centre, the island had also been exclusive in that: even during the years of peak of the Delian Alliance, women on the brink of childbirth and people close to dying would be carried to the neighbouring island of Rineia. The whole of the then known world was aware of the sacredness of the island and its uniqueness.

During the Hellenistic period, it became a center of commerce and one of the most important religious centers in Greece, attracting wealthy merchants, sailors and bankers from all over the Mediterranean who built more temples, shrines, homes, and other buildings. In 167 BC, it became a free port of the Romans Today the entire island is a UNESCO site. Delos preserves its uniqueness since nowhere else in the world is there a natural insular archaeological site of this size and importance.

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The sacred island of Apollo and Artemis invite us to explore it! Another new travel experience that has begun for all of us with the YouGoCulture initiative and everyone’s support through the Act4Greece program by the National Bank of Greece, is coming to highlight memorable Points of Interest on the Greek map, taking us to an imaginary time travel to the past in combination with people’s everyday life. The significance of the historic Delos, which has been a World Heritage Site since 1990, is inversely proportional to the size of the island. It is a very small island, in the center of the Cyclades complex, located just a short distance from Mykonos and from the other islands of the complex.

The Cycladic civilization, similar and almost parallel to the Minoan of Crete, defined the foundations for the rapid growth of the following years. Today, the strong historical and cultural profile of the Cycladic islands combined with the unique beauties of their landscapes, the crystal blue waters of the Aegean Sea, the traditional architecture of the houses, the modern infrastructures, entirely adapted to the visitor’s needs and also absolutely attuned to the harmony of the environment, classify them among the world's top destinations.

The center of the circle (Cyclades), Delos, attracted the interest of many scientists from very early, since it was one of the most important commercial centers of the ancient world. The Sanctuary of Apollo, established since the Homeric years, has reached its heyday during the Archaic and Classical period. The city that the visitor faces today was developed in a few decades when wealthy merchants, bankers and ship-owners from the existing world settled on the island and hired a number of skilled craftsmen who built luxurious villas for them, decorated with wall paintings, mosaic floors and statues. Despite the rapid decline and abandonment, the island is still a pole of attraction and admiration for its history and the great sceneries under the unique light of god Apollo!

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