The island of Delos is a small archaeological and historical pearl near the center of the Cyclades archipelago. It is a barren island that does not exceed an area of 3.5 square kilometers. The landscape of Delos, characteristic of the Cyclades, is without vegetation but with mount Cynthus, a name that holds since antiquity, under which stretches the sanctuary dedicated to Apollo and his sister Artemis, with the Hellenistic city around.
With the nearest island Mykonos followed by Tinos and Syros, Delos is one of the most important archaeological, historical and mythological sites in Greece, as it was a holy sanctuary for already a millennium before Olympian Greek mythology made it the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis.
From a geological point of view, Delos is said to have been created by some volcanic activity where it emerged to the surface. The name from mythical times is etymologically derived from the ancient Greek verb “δηλόω” which means, obvious, or manifested, clear, bright, something that confirms the hypothesis of sudden emergence or revelation!
Delos has been inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC. By the writing of the Odyssey, the island was already famous as the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis. Despite its decline after 166 BC, when the Romans converted the island into a free port, Delos maintained some population in the early Roman Imperial period. Delos was eventually abandoned around the 8th century AD. In 1990, UNESCO inscribed Delos on the World Heritage List, citing it as a “exceptionally extensive and rich” archaeological site which “conveys the image of a great cosmopolitan Mediterranean port”.
Greeks used the proverb “ᾌδεις ὥσπερ εἰς Δῆλον πλέων”, meaning you sing as if sailing into Delos in reference to someone who is happy, light-hearted and enjoying himself.