Delos: Walking through ancient historyInhabited since the third millennium the island offered few natural resources and fewer people who wanted to live there. That change in 167 BC when Delos was decreed a free port and people sought out the island making it a center of commerce. Merchants, bankers, ship-owners built houses. Artists and craftsmen adorned them with frescoes and mosaics. The island filled with temples, market squares, theaters, houses of wealthy merchants and even a Jewish synagogue.
But Delos was more than commerce. The island had a sacred side -- as the birth site of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis. As a holy place birth and death was considered profane and no one could be born or be buried on its rocky shores.
Delos can be reached by ferry from Mykonos. There's a small museum and three routes marked by arrows of different colors to guide visitors through the excavated parts.
The Naxian Lions on the Blue trail is considered a highlight. On the Green trail, the House of Dionysus floor mosaic is hauntingly beautiful and up the hill is the Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods. But those who prefer to roam are free explore using the map as a guide. And with few people to hinder one's imagination, it is almost possible to voyage back in time and walk with the Delosians.
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