The Delos Archaeological Museum contains findings from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Delos in Greece. Inhabited since prehistoric times, Delos was an ancient Greek holy site, believed to have been the birthplace of the deity Apollo.
Amongst its collection, the Delos Archaeological Museum houses a range of pottery, funerary artefacts and stelae as well as mosaics and jewellery. One of the most celebrated exhibits at the Delos Archaeological Museum are the lion statues from the Terrace of the Lions.
Whilst many exhibits relate to the ancient Greek period, the Delos Archaeological Museum has pieces dating as far back as the 25th century BC, offering an overview of the island since it was first inhabited.
Delos Archaeological Museum history
In 1872, the French School at Athens started their excavation of the island Delos where the ancient Greek sacred site was located. The project was massive in scale – even continuing today – and as the artefacts found grew in number, an on-site museum was built in 1904 by the Archaeological Society of Athens to house the different archaeological findings. The museum’s 5 rooms has since been expanded to 9.
Delos Archaeological Museum today
Today, any visit to the archaeological site of Delos would not be complete without stopping by the Delos Archaeological Museum to explore some of the items that bring the ancient sanctuary to life. From the first habitation of the island in the 25th century BC to the 1st century BC, the ancient pottery collection documents the island’s long history.
A particular highlight are the extensive and well-preserved mosaics dating back to the 1st century BC from the House of Dionysus. The god is shown with wide-stretched wings, riding a tiger that is wearing a string of vines and grapes around its neck. There are also of course remains of sculptures of Apollo, one of which is a colossal hand, once part of a statue dating from 600 BC and dedicated by Naxos.
Ultimately, this small museum is an essential part of understanding the cultural significance of the site at Delos, and is a great chance to get out of the sun after walking around the archaeological park.
Getting to Delos Archaeological Museum
Delos is a small island in the Greek Aegean Sea. To get there from Mikonos, drive up the coast to Mikonos New Port before catching the Delos – Mikonos Ferry (roughly an hour). Port Delos is next to the archaeological site and a 20 minute walk from the museum.
Delos Archaeological Museum - History
The History of the Collection
The National Archaeological Museum houses the largest and one of the most significant collections of sculpture of Greek antiquity worldwide, dating from the 7th century BC to the 5th century AD. The formation of the collection was initiated in 1829 with the foundation of the museum on Aegina, whereas later it included marble and stone sculptures from the public archaeological collections of Athens, from excavations and acquisitions of the Archaeological Society at Athens as well as from other regions of the Greek world. The Collection comprises approximately 17.000 works, of which 1.000 are on display in Rooms 7-34 on the ground floor of the building, in the atrium and the Room of the Cypriot Collection, in Room 64 on the upper floor, whereas those sculptures in storage are accessible to researchers. Individual sculptures are also exhibited in the Egyptian Collection, the Vase Collection and the Stathatos Collection.
Browse the exhibition
The dawn of sculpture in the historical period: 8th-5th century BC (Rooms 7-14)
By the 8th century BC the Greek populations had completed their migration and established city-states, adopted the common name Greek, the alphabet, the Greek myths and the Dodekatheon (Twelve Olympian Gods) and also a method of calculating time based on the first Olympic Games (776 BC).
From the 7th century BC onwards the old temples that were made of timber were gradually replaced by stone-built structures adorned with architectural sculptures, such as the reliefs from the temple of Athena at Mycenae (no 2869, Room 7). Over the same time period, the earlier wooden statues (which were in effect plank-shaped images, called xoana) were also substituted by their stone counterparts, which nonetheless, preserved the traditionally stiff and austere shape, such as the statue of Artemis dedicated by Nikandre of Naxos (“Dedication of Nikandre”) to the temple of Apollo on Delos (no 1, Room 7). The same rigid pose is encountered on smaller sculptures depicting the human figure, such as those made of ivory (no 776, Room 7) and also on the funerary (grave) monuments, such as the monument of the brothers Dermys and Kit(t)ylos, portrayed embracing each other tightly, that had been installed over their grave at Tanagra in Boeotia by their father Amphalkes (no 56, Room 8). Similarly stiff is the pose of the female figures that mourn a deceased woman over her bier illustrated on the large clay amphora that also served as grave marker (sema) at the cemetery of the Kerameikos in a different rendering of the dead body of an eminent person (no A804, Room 7).
Marble statues were dedicated to the temples or mounted over the graves of significant people as grave markers (semata). These statues, the Kouroi or Korai (youths and maidens), created in the 6th century BC, are frontally depicted with restricted movement, yet they all smile at us. The Kouroi are portrayed standing with their arms extending downwards at the side of their torso, with their left foot slightly advanced. They are usually nude, while emphasis is placed on the modelling of the muscles however some of them are shown wearing painted sandals, as in the case of the large Sounion Kouros that had been dedicated to the sanctuary of Poseidon there (no 2720, Room 8). Several examples of Kouroi follow in the next Rooms among the most important are the Kouroi of the Kerameikos (no 3372, Room 11), of Myrhinnous (Attic deme, present-day Merenda) (no 4890, Room 11), of Volomandra (no 1906, Room 11) and the Anavyssos Kouros in Attica (depicting Kroisos who died in battle, no 3851, Room 13), of the sanctuary of Apollo at the Boeotian mountain Ptoon (no 20, Room 13), and also the latest Kouros of the Collection, Aristodikos, from Mesogeia (no 3938, Room 13). The sole Kouros that is depicted clothed was found on the riverbed of the Athenian river Ilissos (no 3687, Room 13). Bases of Kouroi decorated with relief representations of sports and games were possibly installed over the graves of athletes (no 3476, 3747, Room 13). The Korai are shown standing lifting their garment with one hand, whereas the other hand carries either a flower bud or a fruit before their chest. The earliest and best preserved Kore of the Collection is Phrasikleia that was unearthed together with the Kouros of Myrrhinous and is portrayed wearing jewels and red peplos (no 4889, Room 11), whereas two Korai from the Acropolis of Athens (BE 15, 16, Room 13) follow, as well as the Kore of Eleusis (no 26, Room 14). The sculptural funerary monuments of the time could also take the form of very tall stelae (up to 4,5 m in height) (no 2687, Room 11) crowned with the statue of a sphinx, a mythological creature with the head of a woman and the body of a winged lion (Room 11). In the transitional phase to the Classical Period bronze statues were also cast, such as Poseidon that was recovered from the seabed off the south coast of Boeotia. The statue that had been dedicated to the god, according to the inscription found at the base, shows him holding his trident vertically (no X11761, Room 14). In the temples of the time the pediments (the triangular part at the top of the front of a building beneath the roof) are decorated with multi-figure battle scenes, as in the case of the temple of Athena Aphaia on Aegina (Room 14).
The sculpture of the Classical Period – 5th and 4th century BC (Rooms 15-28 and 34)
In the 5th century BC democracy was already established in Athens (in 508 BC by Cleisthenes) and the Greeks confronted the invasion of the Persians, the greatest military power of its day. The victories at the battles of Marathon and Plataea and also the naval battle of Salamis brought about an era of intellectual creativity, material prosperity and democratic consolidation under the leadership of Pericles. Athens became the centre in which sculptors, among other artists, arrived from other regions, thereby contributing to the embellishment of the buildings and monuments of the city with works of high quality and originality.
At the outset of this period sculpture conquers the third dimension. One of the rarest bronze works preserved is the statue of Zeus or Poseidon that was retrieved from the seabed off Cape Artemision on Euboea and depicted either Zeus holding the thunderbolt or Poseidon carrying his trident (no X15161, Room 15).
At the peak of the 5th century BC, the great sculptors drew their inspiration from the human body imparting ideal (idealized) beauty and spiritual meaning. The large relief that shows the three main figures of the mystery cult in the Eleusinian sanctuary: Demeter, Persephone and the young hero Triptolemus (no 126, Room 15) was found at Eleusis. Next to the relief lies the clay “Ninnion Tablet” that was dedicated to the same sanctuary by a faithful woman named (the) Ninnion (no A11036, Room 15). Of the statue of Nemesis, attributed to the sculptor Agoracritus, that was venerated at Rhamnous, a Roman copy is preserved (no 3949, Room 19). A work of his master, the Athenian Pheidias, was the chryselephantine statue of Athena Parthenos (made of ivory and gold) on the Acropolis of Athens. Of the huge work that was 12 metres tall, a small Roman version is preserved, rendered in marble (no 129, Room 20). The marble statue of “”Diadoumenos”” from Delos depicting an athlete who binds the ribbon of victory around his forehead that was once gilded is a Late Hellenistic copy of the original bronze work by Polykleitos from Argos (no 1826, Room 21).
Harsh times followed associated with the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC), the civil strife between Athens and Sparta. The erection of funerary monuments that had been banned in the past by law for political and economic reasons was allowed once again for the victims of the war and the plague (epidemic) that broke out at the early stages of the conflict. Large marble vases that entailed special symbolism are frequently encountered (Room 16), or simple stelae, such as the one that depicts a youth holding the bird which he has just released from its cage, perhaps in a symbolic gesture that signifies the emancipation of the soul from his dead body (no 715, Room 16). Sometimes, they take the form of a naiskos (small temple) inside of which the deceased is depicted, such as the stele of Hegeso from the Kerameikos who is portrayed seated before her saddened slave (no 738, Room 18).
The end of the war signalled the Spartan leadership, but soon Athens and Thebes regained their strength, until the Panhellenic hegemony was successfully claimed by the Macedonian kings Philipp II and Alexander the Great. Large Greek urban centres developed, whereas in sculpture local schools represented by eminent sculptors had been created already before the end of the war. Sculpture is inspired by the rich movement of drapery that follows the movement of the body, as in the case of the female figures of the Peloponnesian sculptor Timotheus intended for the temple of Asclepius at Epidaurus (Room 22). Skopas from Paros undertook the building of the temple of Athena Alea at Tegea in Arcadia (Room 28). Praxiteles, son of the Athenian sculptor Cephisodotus, created nude, sensual works, while the bronze ephebe (youth) that was retrieved from the sea off Marathon (no X15118, Room 28) has been attributed to his school. The bronze ephebe that was recovered from the sea off Antikythera (no X13396), Room 28) adheres to the tradition established by Polykleitos. Lysippos had created the statue of Hercules leaning against his club, a copy of which is the oversized figure of Hercules discovered in the shipwreck of Antikythera and is now on display at the atrium. We are startled by its dark surface, as a result of the pollutants and the corrosion caused by the seawater, making it hard to imagine that it was actually made of bright Parian marble.
During the Classical period a wide range of reliefs were created that also incorporated texts of the decrees issued by the city of Athens (Room 25) or took the form of a cave (Room 25) or human body parts (Room 26, display case).
Hellenistic sculpture: Late 4th – early 1st century BC (Rooms 29-30 and 34)
The period dominated by the Diadochi (Successors) to Alexander the Great and their kingdoms that stretched across Greece, Asia and Egypt is called Hellenistic. New major urban centres emerged, such as Pergamon, Antioch and Alexandria. The citizens of these kingdoms experienced a cosmopolitan character that was further enhanced by the widespread use of a common language the Hellenistic Koine, a simplified form of the Attic dialect. The ethical conduct of the citizens was influenced by new philosophical movements, whereas the religious quests led to the consolidation of mystery cults that called for initiation in order for the faithful to achieve now personal salvation.
In sculpture, new local workshops and renowned sculptors that rendered the figures realistically, depicting their personal features, came to the fore. At Lykosura in Arcadia, Damophon from Messene created a composition 6 metres tall (including the pedestal): Demeter and Despoina are venerated seated on a common throne flanked by Artemis and Anytus, one of the Titans, (Room 29). At Aigeira in Achaea the Athenian Eukleides created the colossal statue of Zeus enthroned, known to us from its depiction on coins, but unfortunately, only the head and one arm are preserved (nos 3377 and 3481, Room 30). The group of Aphrodite and Pan, possibly dedicated by a man named Dionysios from Beirut, was unearthed on Delos: the smiling goddess, assisted by the flying Eros brandishes her sandal against the erotically disposed goat-footed Pan who assaults her (no 3335, Room 30). The bronze race horse with its young rider (“”The Artemision Jockey””) was lifted from the sea off Cape Artemision on Euboea (no X15177, Room 34).
Roman sculpture: 1st century BC – 5th century AD (Rooms 31-33)
From the 2nd century BC onwards Greece was gradually conquered by the Romans until their eventual dominance in 31 BC and the fall of the Ptolemaic Kingdom.
The building programme designed for the capital of the Roman Empire had a twofold impact: initially the Greek cities were stripped of their artistic treasures that were transferred as spoils to Rome and concurrently some artists moved to the city. Subsequently, new local workshops were established in order to satisfy the demand for copies of Classical and Hellenistic works. Later, in the 2nd century AD, Athens turned once again into an artistic centre, mainly as a result of the special favour which the Philhellene emperors Hadrian and Antoninus Pius had shown. The Neo-Attic production thus emerged featuring mainly decorative reliefs (marble panels suspended on the wall) (no 5147, Room 31), marble sarcophagi (no 1186, Room 32) and trapezophora (marble table supports) (no 2706, Room 33).
The Roman administration was promoted through art and particularly sculpture, with the creation of portraits of the emperor, members of his family and also dignitaries or scholars, as these are successively displayed, grouped by dynasty. The bronze equestrian statue of Octavian Augustus recovered from the sea between Euboea and Hagios Eustratios (no X23332, Room 31) and the portrait of Hadrian’s companion Antinous, the beautiful youth who drowned in the Nile (no 417, Room 32) are markedly distinguished
Cypriot Collection (Room 64)
The Cypriot Collection was formed of donations and confiscations and consists, among others, of 160 sculptures made of local Cypriot stone. The head of a bearded young male with hair that imitates that of the Ionian Kouroi (no 1832) and the head of a goddess wearing kalathos headdress and lavish jewels (no 66) are among the most notable exhibits.
Dr Despina Ignatiadou, archaeologist
Head Curator of the Sculpture Collection
National Archaeological Museum
Statue: life-size figure of a person or animal made of stone, metal or other material
Statuette: figure of a person or animal, smaller than life size, made of stone, metal or other material
Relief: sculpture on which forms and figures stand out from the flat surface of a plaque
Votive: work dedicated to a temple or sanctuary
Architectural sculpture / relief: sculptural work that formed part of the decoration of a building
Architectural members: part of a building made of stone
Altar: structure on which sacrifices are offered
Funerary monument / statue / relief / stele: grave monument, marker of a grave
Historical times: the period of human history documented by written records
Kouros and Kore: statue of a nude young male figure standing or a draped young female figure standing, encountered in the 6th century
Plastic = sculpture
Bust: sculpture of the head and chest of a figure Portrait: head carved in the round that renders realistically the features of the depicted person
Sarcophagus: stone coffin
Stele: tall, oblong plaque
Archaeological Museum of Delos
No matter the attempts, exercising, hiking, biking--- a back-end like this just doesn’t happen. And to think, this fine example, has remained tight and toned since about the 2nd century BC.
Just a short ferry ride from beautiful, colorful island of Mykonos is the strangely captivating abandoned island of Delos with its 1 1/2 square miles chock full of ruins. Legends claim that Apollo was born on this sacred island near Mt. Kynthos.
The island is now uninhabited by living souls, but the entire area is crowded with sites to see and stories to tell of ancient folks. Wander the whole island to see amazing mosaics, the Avenue of the Lions, an ancient theater and multiple sanctuaries to Apollo, Dionysus and other gods. Don't you love the word, "sanctuary?" I know I do.
Wander through the Archaeological Museum to view the fine anatomical buttocks of the photo. Kind of just makes you want to give it a little pat, doesn’t it?
Delos Archaeological Museum
Delos Museum erected at 1904 with the expense of the Athens Archaeological Society. The original building included the five western classrooms, plus several more in 1931 and 1972. In the same period have been huge, but unfortunate, changes in the appearance of the building.
The present report contains nine galleries: in six of them out the sculptures and reliefs found on Delos, one of the best collections in the world. Two classrooms to include prehistoric pottery and ysteroellinistikon years and another out various miniature found in the private homes of Delos. The report is not yet complete.
Epitymvia statues and columns of the 7 th – 1 st century BC
Vases of instruments of the 3 rd millennium – 1 st century BC
Idols 2 nd – 1 st century BC
Jewelry and small items of 2 nd – 1 st century BC
Mosaics of 2 nd – 1 st century BC
Key exhibits: plate with ivory relief of Mykinaiou warrior that was found in Artemision torso Kouros from the temple of Apollo, marble cluster Vorrea which snaps the princess of Attica Oreithyia and was the temple of Athens, statues Dioskouridi and his wife, Cleopatra — Athenians living in Delos – found at the home of the couple, in the area of theatre, statue of Apollo in the press of the Lyceum of Praxitelous Apollo – the god based in the trunk of a tree and clicks on Gallic shields – from the area of theatre, bronze facade bearded Dionysus who diadima bodies and ivy wreath and found south of the Market Kompetaliaston, Corinthian alabaster – a vase for perfumed oil with a Potnias Thiron between two swans – found in Iraio, headed triangular pedestal Kouros statue – with relief head crushed in a corner gorgoneia and the other two – from the Temple of Apollo, Archaic daughter – veil zosmeno bodies in the middle, which is decorated in the middle of the front with vertical film debossed double meandros – found from the Temple of Apollo and is considered one of the oldest existing large plastic, fresco from the outside wall of a house in the area where Skardana represented by Hercules, and two pygmachoi male form plays flute or trumpet.
Tel 22890 to 22259, at the archaeological site of Delos.
Intact: € 5, Concessions: € 3
Free Entry Calendar Schedule
– March 6 – Memory Melina Mercouri
– June 5 – World Environment Day
– April 18 – International Day of Monuments
– May 18 – International Museum Day
– The last weekend of September, each year (Thursday Cultural Heritage)
– Sundays during the period from November 1 to March 31
– The official non-working State days
– The first Sunday of each month, except during the months of July, August and September (when the first Sunday is a holiday, the day of entry determines the second Sunday.)
– September 27, World Tourism Day
– Persons eligible for «free-pass» validate for three years, with the right of renewal.
Persons entitled to a lower entrance fee
– The participants in international conferences following approval by the Director General of Antiquities and Civic Heritage
– Participants in the tours organized by the Agency Workers’
– Sessions parents in educational visits schools Primary Education
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– Schoolchildren to 19 years accompanied by educational workers oriented A, B and C oriented education (Collective licenses granted by the Greek Ministry of Culture)
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– Young people up to age 19 years old by showing their ID card
– Tourist guides with an identity card of the Ministry of Development
– The official guests from the Greek state, after approval of the Director-General of Antiquities and Heritage
– Blind escorts and persons with disabilities.
– The ones serving in the armed forces by showing ID card
– Preservers of antiquities and works of art that have been given specific permission from the Greek Ministry of Culture
– Officials of the Hellenic Cultural (O.P.E.P.), on production of their identity
– Officials of the Archaeological Resources and Fund (ARF), on production of their identity
– Officials of Credit Management Fund for Archaeological Projects (T.D.P.E.A.E.), on production of their identity
– Officials of the Ministry of Culture, through the demonstration of their identity
– Students of Higher Education, TEI Or equivalent schools EU countries By showing the student identity
From 01.11.2007 to 31.03.2008
Tuesday – Sunday: 08:30 – 15:00
Dionysus is also spelled as Dionysos in Greece. He is the god of the grape harvest, wine, fertility, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, and theater in ancient Greek religion and myth. He is also known as Bacchus, the name adopted by the Romans.
Wine played an important role in Greek culture, and the cult of Dionysus was the main religious focus surrounding its consumption. Wine and grapes were seen as not only a gift of the god but a symbolic incarnation of him on earth. However, rather than being a god of drunkenness, as he was often stereotyped in the post-Classical era. The religion of Dionysus centered on the correct consumption of wine, which could ease suffering and bring joy, as well as inspire divine madness distinct from drunkenness.
Performance art and drama were also central to his religion, and its festivals were the initial driving force behind the development of theater.
Archaeological Museum of Delos - Overview
Delos Museum was built in 1904 by the Archaeological Society at Athens and originally consisted of the five western rooms. It was enlarged in 1931 and 1972 and in the same period, the exterior of the building underwent great, but unfortunately inadequate alterations. The present exhibition is arranged in nine rooms. Six rooms contain the statues and reliefs found on Delos (one of the best collections in the world), two rooms contain pottery ranging from the prehistoric times to the Late Hellenistic period, and the last one contains various objects of everyday life, found in the private houses of the site.
Funerary statues and grave stelae ranging from the 7th to the 1st century BC
Pottery ranging from the 25th to the 1st century BC
Clay figurines dating from the 2nd-1st centuries BC
Jewellery and small objects dating from the 2nd-1st centuries BC
Mosaics of the 2nd-1st centuries BC
Among the most important exhibits of the museum are:
Ivory plaque (no. B.7069), representing a Mycenaean warrior in relief. He is carrying an 8-shaped shield and a long spear and has on a helmet made of wild boar's teeth. The plaque was found under the Artemision, along with other ivory, gold and bronze objects and was probably used for the decoration of wooden furniture. Dated to 1400-1200 BC.
Torso of a kouros (no. A.4083). It was found in the sanctuary of Apollo and most probably was the product of a Parian workshop. Dated to the middle of the 6th century BC.
Marble statue of Boreas (no. A.4287). The figure is the personification of the north wind, abducting the Athenian princess Oreithya. It was the central acroterion of the east pediment of the temple dedicated by the Athenians in 417 BC. A good example of the Attic sculpture, dated to the end of the 5th century BC.
Marble statues of Dioscourides and Kleopatra (nos. A.7763 and A.7799), an Athenian couple living on Delos. They were found inside the couple's house, in the Theatre Quarter and, according to the inscription on the base, were erected by Kleopatra in 138 BC in order to honour her husband who dedicated two silver tripods to the temple of Apollo.
Marble statue of Apollo (no. A.4124). It follows the type of Apollo Lyceios, which is attributed to the great sculptor Praxiteles. The god is represented leaning on a tree and stepping on a heap of Gallic shields. It is probably a smaller copy of the statue dedicated to Delphi to commemorate a victory against the Galls who attacked the Delphic Sanctuary in 279/278 BC. It was found in a private house in the Theatre Quarter and dates from the 2nd century BC.
Bronze mask of Dionysos (no. B.7540). The bearded god is wearing a diadem and an ivy wreath. It was found south of the Market of the Competaliasts and most likely was a votive offering. Dated to the 2nd century BC.
Corinthian "alabastron" (no. B.6192). Small, perfumed-oil container, decorated with a representation of "Potnia Theron" (Lady of the beasts, Protectress of hunting), among two swans. It was found in the Heraion along with many other similar vases and is a characteristic example of the Corinthian pottery production during the end of the 7th century BC.
Inscribed triangular base of a kouros statue (no. A.728) decorated with the head of a ram on one corner and Gorgo's heads on the other two. The dedicatory boustrophedon insription is engraved on one side: "Euthycartides the Naxian made me and dedicated me". It was found in the Sanctuary of Apollo and dates from the second half of the 7th century BC.
Archaic statue of a young woman (kore) (no. A.4062). It was found in the Sanctuary of Apollo and is one of the oldest surviving specimens of large-scale sculpture. The young woman is represented standing, dressed in a tight peplos decorated in front with an incised vertical double maeander. Parian work dated to ca. 580 BC.
Wall-painting (no. Β.17613) from the exterior wall of a house in Skardana Quarter. It bears the representation of Heracles, two boxers and another man playing the flute or a trompet. The iscription KALAMODRYA[C] probably refers to a famous boxer of the 1st century BC.
Delos island is an archaeological sanctuary, listed by Unesco as one of mankind’s most important cultural and historical sites.
According to mythology, the island was revealed among the waves of the Aegean to Leto, who was being chased by the jealous Hera it was the refuge where she gave birth to Apollo and Artemis.
It wasn’t long before Delos island became for Ancient Greeks the holiest place in the Aegean, dedicated to the god of light and music, Apollo, with a flourishing commercial town & harbor, large population, temples, and a magnificent theater.
The island was first settled, probably by the Kares, about the 3rd millennium B.C. In the beginning of the 8th cent. B.C. it developed into a center of worship and was the capital city of an amphictyony of Aegean island.
At the end of the 6th cent B.C., the tendency of the Athenians was to take over the island: IN 540 B.C. Peisistratos ordered the first purification of the sanctuary. As a result of the second purification (426 B.C.) the entire contents of all the islands graves were remove to neighboring Rhenia. Afterwards in order to prevent desecration of the sanctuary, both births and deaths were forbidden on the island of Apollo.
The Athenians consecrated the first “Delian alliance” dedicated to Leto, Artemis, and Apollo. In 315 B.C., when Macedonians arrived on the island, Delos achieved its independence and developed commercially.
During the Roman period, the island thrived, until, until 88 B.C. the population included Egyptians, Syrians and Italians. Then, after two dreadful attacks during the Mithridatic War, Delos went into decline and was finally abandoned in the 6th cent A.D.
In 1873 the French Archaeological School of Athens started excavations and restoration enabling the wealth of the islands history to be revealed to everyone who is interested. The Archaeological Museum of Delos house one of Greece’s most significant collections, including rare exhibits of ancient sculpture ceramic vessels, epigraphs and wonderful mosaics etc.
Today Delos is uninhabited and off-limits for an overnight stay.
There are daily excursions from Mykonos Town towards Delos island. Boats leave at 09:00am, 10:00am and 11:00am from the Old port (pier at the west side of the harbor), right behind the little church of Agios Nikolaos at the waterfront. The boat trip takes about 30 minutes. Boats return at 12:15pm, 13:30pm and 15:00pm. The cost is 20€ for the boat trip plus the entrance free.
There is also a guided tour available, departing at 10:30 am from the east pier in Mykonos old port (see here). The cost is 43€ plus the entrance free.
Mykonos Delos Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum of Delos, Mykonos Cyclades: The Archaeological Museum of Delos was built way back in the year 1904. The construction of this famous museum was carried out under the aegis of the Archaeological Society of Athens. Initially, the museum was spread over just five rooms. It was much later in the year 1931 and again in 1972 that further rooms were added. At present the historical artifacts are on display in nine rooms. There are six exclusive rooms where rare historical statues unearthed from the archaeological site at Delos are on display.
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Another set of two rooms two display the fascinating collections of pottery dating back to the prehistoric times. And last but not the least, there is a room exclusively dedicated to displaying objects of art that are meant for everyday use. The Ivory Plaque which dates back to 1400-1200 BC is absolutely stunning. The plaque portrays a quintessential Mycenaean soldier with defensive shield and a rather elongated spear. The soldier's head is covered by a protective headgear which is made of teeth of a wild boar.
This rare plaque was unearthed from under the debris at Artemision along with numerous other artifacts made of gold, ivory, and bronze. Another notable attraction of the Archaeological Museum of Delos is the trunk of a Kouros. It was recovered from an asylum in Apollo and dates back to the 6th century. There is the marble statue of Boreas which artistically portrays the infamous kidnapping of the then Athenian princess Oreithya. It is one of the finest specimens of Attic art and dates back to the 5th century.
The marble statues of Dioscourides and Kleopatra too are conspicuous by their presence. Dioscorides and Kleopatra were an Athenian couple who lived on Delos island. The statues were discovered from the couple's residence and there is also an inscription on the pedestal which is believed to have been put in place by none other than Kleopatra way back in 138 B.C.
The marble statue of Apollo, which is on display at the museum, is conspicuous by its distinct Apollo Lyceios features which were patronized by the renowned sculptor Praxiteles. The statue artistically depicts a mythological god inclining on a tree and striding on a bundle of Gallic shields.
Archaeologists and scholars are of the opinion that the marble statue of Apollo on display at the museum is a miniature version of the statue of Delphi which was created exclusively to celebrate the hard-fought victory against the mighty Galls. This marvelous marble statue was discovered from a private residence and is believed to belong to the 2nd century BC.
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The 20th Century History of Ireland Galleries will exhibit objects that have been continuously collected on behalf of the Irish people since before the foundation of the state up to the present day
Cross-disciplinary conference with NCAD will address how national museums have worked and been understood in the creation and maintenance of ideas of the nation.
The National Museum of Ireland invites interested parties to tender for gallery services associated with the recently announced 20th Century History of Ireland Galleries.
Archaeological Sites in Greece & the islands
This section proposes a brief description of the most interesting archaeological sites of Greece and the Greek Islands.
Discover the most famous and historically important sites of Ancient Greece: Archaeological sites like the Acropolis of Athens, Sanctuary of Delphi, Ancient Olympia, Delos island, Palace of Knossos in Crete, Ancient Epidaurus and Mycenae. Visitors will find archaeological sites in every part of Greece and in most of the Greek islands.
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Want to organize a trip to the most important archaeological sites of Greece? You can do that with a guided tour from Athens to Delphi, Epidaurus, Mycenae, Olympia or you can organize an independant trip with a private transfer (Minivan). Send us your request!
The Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis of Athens is the main and most famous archaeological site in Greece. It is also called the Sacred Rock, stands on the highest point of Athens. It is considered the most important heritage of the Classical period and also as Europe's most important ancient monument. The Parthenon Temple is the main building on the Acropolis and constitutes an architectural splendor of ancient times.
The Acropolis stands proudly over the modern and busy city of Athens and it keeps reminding us that Athens was the cradle of a great civilization. Although temples were constructed there since the Archaic times, the Acropolis as we know it today was an idea of Pericles, the famous statesman of the Classical Era.
Made of fine Pentelian marble, the Acropolis and its buildings were constructed in the 5th century BC and it cost a huge amount of money for those times. The most famous buildings of the Acropolis are the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Temple of Athena Nike and the Propylaea.
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The Sanctuary of Delphi
The site of Delphi is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. It was discovered in 1893 by the French School of Archaeology. This was the most important oracle of ancient Greece. During the Mycenaean Period, the female deity of Earth was worshipped in the small settlement of Delphi. The development of the sanctuary and Oracle started at the beginning of the 8th century B.C with the establishment of the cult of Apollo.
Gradually, the sanctuary continued to work autonomously and enlarge its influence on religious and political orders. The sanctuary was enlarged and decorated with beautiful buildings, statues and other kind of offerings. People from all over the Mediterranean would come to the oracle of Delphi to ask for advice from the priestess Pythia. Although many other oracles developed in Greece, this was considered the most accurate of all.
The most important monuments excavated in Delphi are the Temple of Apollo, the Treasury of the Athenians, the Altar, the Stoa of the Athenians, the Theatre, the Stadium, the Tholos, and the Gymnasium. Next, to the sanctuary, there is an interesting museum.
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Ancient Olympia is an archaeological site situated in an area of great natural beauty in Peloponnese. It is considered one of the most important sanctuaries of the antiquity and it was dedicated to the father of all gods, Zeus. In fact, two great temples of Zeus and Hera were constructed there in ancient times.
Olympia was also the place where the ancient Olympic Games were first held n the 7th century B.C. The Games were organized to honor Zeus and, according to the myth, they were founded either by Pelops, king of Peloponnese or by Hercules. These were the most important sports competitions in ancient times and even wars stopped at their duration. The winners were awarded a branch of olive oil tree and they were welcomed as heroes in their homelands.
The site was excavated by French archaeologists in 1829 and some of the findings were transferred to the Louvre Museum in Paris. The most important monuments of the site are the temples of Zeus and Hera, the Stadium, the workshop of sculptor Pheidias, the Palaestra and the Gymnasium. Next, to the site, there is an impressive museum with findings from the area.
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The Sacred Island of Delos
Delos, included in the World Heritage Monuments protected by the UNESCO, is a small islet situated a few miles from the famous island of Mykonos, in the center of the Cyclades. Delos is considered as one of the most important ancient sites and Pan-Hellenic sanctuaries of Greece. According to the Greek mythology, Delos was the birthplace of Apollo, the god of light and may be of Artemis, the twin sister of Apollo, goddess of hunting.
Delos was a sacred place in ancient times. It worked both as a religious and trade center. The excavations on Delos started in 1873 by the French School of Archaeology. The most important monuments of the site are the Agora, the Temple of Apollo, the Terrace of the Lions and the ancient theatre, which is being renovated currently to host theatre performances. On Delos, there is a small museum with findings from the island.
To go to Delos, you take the tour boat from Mykonos. The island is not inhabited but it is an open archaeological place.
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The Minoan Palace of Knossos
Knossos is the most important ancient site and best-preserved palace of the Minoan Civilization, that flourished in Greece from 2,700 to 1,450 BC. Knossos, located near modern Heraklion in Crete island, was the seat of the legendary King Minos and it is also a place connected to many legends such as the Labyrinth with the Minotaur and the story of Daedalus and Icarus.
At about 2,000 BC, the Minoans were characterized by a flourishing commercial, political, social and cultural system, as well as by the construction of impressive palaces, such as Knossos, Lato, Zakros, Phaestos, and many others.
The Minoans also developed for the first time a trade network with the rest of the Aegean and even established colonies, like Akrotiri in Santorini. From the lack of defensive walls, we can assume that the Minoans had peaceful relations with their neighbors. Also, their facilities and urban planning were surprisingly developed for that era.
The Minoan Palace of Knossos was discovered in 1878 by archaeologist Minos Kalokairinos and its restoration started in 1900. The most important monuments of the site are the palace of Knossos, the little palace, the Royal Villa and the house of the frescoes.
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Located on the eastern side of Peloponnese, Epidaurus developed as a religious center and more particularly as a sanctuary of Asclepius, the healing god. In fact, according to the myth, Epidaurus was the birthplace of god Asclepius and this is why an important healing center was established there, famous all over the Mediterranean Sea. It was believed that the treatment was coming directly from the god. The patients would sleep in a large room and at night the god would come to their dream and indicate the necessary therapy.
In order to honor god Asclepius, large festivities would take place in the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus as well as athletic competitions in the Ancient Stadium. The ancient theatre that survives today was constructed in the 4th century BC. It is large, made of marble and stone and famous for its amazing acoustics. In summer, performances of ancient Greek drama are presented there as part of the Greek Festival.
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The site of Mycenae is considered as one of the oldest ancient sites in Greece and witnesses the development of the Mycenaean civilization. Mycenae was the legendary home of Agamemnon, ruler of the Greeks during the Trojan War. The Mycenaean civilization took its name after the discovery of the site of Mycenae. The Mycenaean civilization followed the Minoans. Their society, as proved by the excavations, was formed by an elite group. Their citadels were fortified with what we call the Massive Cyclopean walls. They were named like this because people thought that only Cyclopes could have lifted such huge stones to compose them. The society of the Mycenaeans was based on military force. Generally, this era doesn't have much to show in cultural issues, but it stressed mostly on urban planning and military invasions. The most characteristic spot of the site is the Lion Gate. Particularly interesting is also the museum.
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