Friday, January 12, 2018

Delos delights: Excavations reveal thriving Bronze Age society

The superb location of Delos -- right in the middle of the Aegean -- made
it an ideal meeting place and trade center centuries ago.

Doric temples, markets, an amphitheater, elaborate houses,  mosaics and the iconic Terrace of the Lions await your exploration of a magnificent ancient Greek culture

Delos, the mythological birthplace of Apollo, has splendid ruins of temples, markets, a theater and famed Terrace of Lions.

Delos was declared a free port in 167 BC, it became a main trading
  centers on the Eastern Mediterranean. A thriving town developed. 

STORY By CHRISTENE MEYERS


PHOTOS By BRUCE KELLER



APPROACHING DELOSone marvels at the sophisticated people who thrived here two thousand years ago.
What happened to these wealthy merchants and scholars, no one knows. They simply disappeared,  -- but here on the lovely
Aegean Sea, early in winter, the light seems -- dare we say --Apollonion.
An animated, accomplished Greek guide brings Delos history to life.
 No wonder, for it was here in the center of a magical archipelago where Apollo was born.
The god of music, truth and prophecy, healing, sun, light, poetry is a spiritual presence as we stroll through   ruins  dating  to 600 B.C. 
OUR BRILLIANT guide brings the culture back to life, describing a busy port, important religious center and home to wealthy and sophisticated merchants and scholars.  Their highly evolved hygiene, culture and architecture made the prosperous village a huge internationally touted "find" when it was discovered by the French centuries later in 1873.
Cookie about to board a ferry after a wonderful day in Delos.
 As we studied glorious ruins, the morning sun reflected off the marble and stone as if to say: search always for harmony, ask questions, seek reason and balance -- all trademarks of Greek philosophy.
WHY THE ancient Greeks left their island home is unknown -- perhaps disease or crop failure, a sudden shift in tides or weather.  But we know that long abandoned Delos was once sacred throughout Greece, as the centerpiece of an artfully arranged archipelago .
Mykonos was the port for a day in Delos.
We joined a group of students and tourists on Delos, to study a culture
dating back to the early Bronze Age.  The important mythological, historical 
and archaeological site is one of the world' most extensive excavations.
The French began extensive excavations of Delos in 1873.  Work continues.

We boarded a ferry in nearby Mykonos,








setting off for a half-hour sail on the peaceful Aegean Sea.
It was Day 8 of our Mediterranean odyssey aboard Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas. Our destination was this famous mythological birthplace of Apollo, whose mother, Leto, gave birth to him and his twin, Artemis here.





EXCAVATIONS on Delos started in 1873 by the French School of Archaeology at Athens and by 1914 the most significant sections of the ancient site had been uncovered. Work is ongoing, and recently more ruins were discovered underwater nearby: kilns, pottery and  remnants of a major religious center and port during the 1st millennium B.C.
We admired ruins of Doric temples, markets, an amphitheater, houses with mosaics and the iconic Terrace of the Lions statues. We wished for more time in the excellent Archaeological Museum on site which displays statues excavated from the site. It was our third visit to Delos, and not long enough.


Young James Brian Ganner gives thumbs up to his ride aboard a Mack fire truck.
UP NEXT: Thumbs up for San Francisco Fire Engine Tours, a unique way to see the city.  Whether you're a native to the City by the Bay (as is our great-nephew James Ganner) or a tourist on a first-time or 20th visit, the delightful 90-minute tour will introduce you to new sights and little known streets, as well as familiar and iconic sights, buildings and parks. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays for a novel approach to travel, the arts, nature and family.














5 comments:

  1. This is splendid. Captures the magic and magnificence of our forebears.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Casablanca CavortersJanuary 13, 2018 at 7:19 AM

    What fun to see and share your adventures. Grateful for your global curiosity.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fun to read this, especially since we were just in Ephesus. Keep bringing us these armchair treats! (Great shot of the lions.)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Florida Fans of RuinsJanuary 14, 2018 at 12:46 PM

    We visited Delos first time nearly 50 years ago. Tourism was rustic, in its infancy, yet the wonders we beheld were so sophisticated. Your photos and writings make us yearn to return.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Bay Area backpackersJanuary 19, 2018 at 11:33 AM

    Great photos. Fun story....we live in San Francisco and look forward to the Fire Engine escapades.

    ReplyDelete