THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND OF DELOS

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Faimoasa pentru stilul de viata decadent si petrecerile pana in zori de zi, Mykonos nu exceleaza si la capitolul istorie. Exista cateva povesti celebre, iar mitologia greaca ne spune ca Mykonos e locul unde Zeus s-a luptat cu titanii; insa istoria nu este la fel de bogata ca in Rodos, destinatia noastra de anul trecut.

Chiar si asa, la 30 de minute cu barca gasim insula Delos, o fosta civilizatie cosmopolita, care a prosperat timp de aproape un mileniu, inainte sa reintre in anonimitate. Recunoscuta ca fiind locul de nastere al zeilor Apollo si Artemis, acesta insula devenita loc de pelerinaj a fost de asemenea si un cunoscut port inclus in cele mai importante rute din antichitate. Comertul era principala activitate, multi oameni bogati, din toate colturile lumii au ales sa locuiasca aici, existand dovezi ale civilizatiilor grecesti, romane, siriene si egiptene, toate convietuind impreuna pe aceasta insula mica, dar foarte populara.

Pavata cu gnais, Delos e unul dintre cele mai stralucitoare locuri de pe pamant. Multi au mers mai departe si au spus ca, localizata chiar in centrul cicladelor, acest loc este unul in care energia cosmica are puteri nebanuite.

Famous for the decadent lifestyle and night long parties, Mykonos does not offer much in terms of history. There are charming stories and the Greek mythology places Mykonos as the place where Zeus fought against the Titans, but it’s not nearly as rich in history as Rhodes, our destination from last year.

Even so, 30 minutes away by boat from this lively island lies Delos, an ancient cosmopolitan civilization, that flourished for nearly a millennium before slowly descending into anonymity. Recognized as the birthplace of the two gods Apollo and Artemis, this cult island slowly became a rich port and an interesting location for powerful civilizations. Trading was a popular activity here and many rich people from all the corners of the world settled here in ancient times. There are traces of Greek, Roman, Syrian and Egyptian cultures, all merged into this tiny yet amazing island.

Paved with gneiss, Delos is one of the brightest places on earth. Many have gone further to say that being in the center of the Cyclade Islands this is also a powerful spot, filled with immense cosmic energy.

Delos_arriving
Arriving on Delos Island

Pe aceasta insula sfanta, nimeni nu avea voie sa se nasca, sa moara sau sa fie ingropat (aceasta lege avea mai degraba implicatii politice decat religioase, pentru ca atenienii erau cei care isi doreau control total asupra insulei, insa aceasta este alta poveste).

Insula este nelocuita in zilele noastre. Doar cativa arheologi care isi continua sapaturile sunt aici. Nimeni in afara de ei nu poate ramane aici peste noapte, deci este clar ca vorbim despre o insula parasita.

Imi place la nebunie sa vizitez astfel de locuri, exact ca Efes in Turcia sau Knossos in Creta. Foste puncte de influenta in lumea antica, acum doar locuri uitate. O excursie aici este ca o calatorie in timp, care te poate coplesi, mai ales daca esti pasionat de istorie.

Va recomand un tur cu ghid, pentru ca o persoana specializata in istorie va poate explica mai bine cum era viata oamenilor de aici, care erau obiceiurile localnicilor si cum a atins aceasta civilizatie apogeul, pentru ca apoi sa dispara. Noi am avut ca ghid un arheolog, pe Alexandra, care a fost gazda perfecta pe Delos.

Ca sa ajungeti pe Delos, trebuie sa luati o barca din vechiul port in Mykonos si dupa aproximativ 30 de minute veti ajunge la destinatie. Sa va luati apa, crema cu SPF, haine care sa va apere de soare si pantofi sport. Mersul in papuci de plaja poate fi sport extrem pe terenul accidentat de pe Delos. Nu sunt foarte multe locuri in care sa va feriti de soare in timpul vizitei, dar la sfarsit puteti lua o pauza la muzeu sau la terasa din apropiere.

Primul lucru pe care il veti vedea la sosire sunt ruinele portului (sunt si ruine scufundate in apa, insa nu am auzit pe cineva sa faca scufundari).

Considered a sacred place, nobody was allowed to give birth, die or be buried on this small island (this law had more political implications than religious ones, as the Athenians wanted to take over the locals to control this rich island, but this is another story).

The island is not inhabited. Only a few archaeologists who continue the archaeological excavations are here. Nobody but them can remain overnight so clearly we are talking about a deserted island.

I love to visit such places, just like Ephesus in Turkey or Knossos in Crete. Former power points of the world, now deserted and consumed by history. Stepping here is like a trip back in time that can sometimes overwhelm you if you are a history passionate.

I recommend you take a guided tour because a knowledgeable person can help you to better understand how people used to live here, what were the local habits and how this civilization came to rise and fall. We had Alexandra, an archaeologist as a guide, and she was the perfect host on Delos.

To get to Delos you can take a boat from the Mykonos old harbor, after about 30 minutes you will arrive at your destination. Pack water, sunscreen, clothes that protect you from the sun and also sports shoes. Walking around only in flip-flops can be an adventure. There are not many places here where you can hide from the sun during the tour, but in the end, you can enjoy the museum and a refreshing drink on a terrace.

When you first arrive here you will see the remains of the port (there are also submerged ruins close to the shore but I never heard of tourists diving there).

Incepeti plimbarea din piata Competalia, acelasi loc in care pe vremuri se gaseau magazinele. Veti vedea ce a mai ramas din ele, dar si din casele localnicilor, care nu sunt departe de acest loc. Casa lui Dionissus ne arata cam cum traiau bogatii acelor vremuri. Sunt si apeducte, un amfiteatru si cel mai important templu de pe insula este cel al lui Apollo. Sa nu uitam despre celebra carare cu lei. Statuile originale sunt acum plasate in muzeu. Aproape de statuile leilor s-a aflat un lac, si se poate vedea si un palmier maret, care este acolo ca sa ne aminteasca de legenda nasterii lui Apollo. You are greeted in the Competaliasts square, the same place where all the merchant’s shops were open. Along the way you can visit what’s left of the shops, but also the houses, which are not far from here. The house of Dionysus shows how the rich people used to live on Delos. There are water ducts, an amphitheater and the most important temple on the island, Appollo’s temple. Let’s not forget about the famous lion path. The originals are now in the museum. Close to the lion’s path, there was a lake, and you can see a palm tree, planted there to remind of how Apollo was born.
Acestea sunt obiectivele cele mi usor de vizitat. Nu am putut petrece foarte mult timp pe Delos, asa ca am ratat cateva obiective importante. Templul zeitei egiptene Isis este construit pe deal, arata spectaculos insa nu este un traseu scurt. Aceeasi carare duce si pe varful muntelui sacru Kynthos, unde puteti admira o priveliste spectaculoasa asupra insulelor ciclade, aveti grija sa fiti bine echipati si feriti de soare pentru ca pe traseu temperatura creste considerabil, mai ales la amiaza.

Ghidul nostru ne-a recomandat si o vizita in aprilie, atunci cand temperatura e mai scauzta si pamantul e acoperit de flori minunate. Cine stie, sper sa ma intorc candva aici si sa reusesc sa vad insulele de  sus, din varful muntelui sfant de pe Delos.

These are the easiest landmarks to visit. We did not spend much time on Delos, so we missed some very popular places. Isis’s temple (Egyptian goddess), located further up on the island looked spectacular but also a bit too far to reach in such a short time. There is also a path leading to the sacred Mount Kynthos, where you can enjoy a spectacular view over the Cyclades, but make sure you are well equipped and sun-protected because it can get extremely hot on the way up during the afternoon.

Our guide also recommended us to visit the island in April, when the temperatures are lower and the ground is covered with wonderful flowers. So who knows, I hope to return here someday and view the Cyclades from the top of the sacred mountain of Delos.

6 thoughts on “THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND OF DELOS

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