Delos – 4

The fourth of five pieces about the Greek Island of Delos, at the centre of The Cyclades.

The path continues past the Temple of Leto and the enormous Agora of the Italians before coming to the most famous part of the site, the Naxian Lions. Sadly, none of the lions on their plinths are originals dating from the 7th Century BCE. Three of the original lions completely disappeared and no one knows where to, another was looted by the Venetians, and the rest are in the on-site museum.

Opposite the lions is the Sacred Lake where Leto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis. This lake was filled up in 1925 due to an epidemic of malaria, but it would be wonderful if this could be reversed and the lake restored to its former glory as it would certain bring some variety to the landscape. To the north west of the Naxians Lions the columned building housed the association of merchants from Beirut.

The path leads on to the market area, where amphorae originally storing wine can still be seen in the shops. The Lake House is a perfect example of a Delian house. All the rooms are arranged around an open courtyard, providing illumination and ventilation. Under the courtyard there’s a cistern which collected the rainwater from the roof. Upstairs were the private rooms of the family and the women’s quarters and all the other rooms were downstairs, including rooms for the house slaves.

Further round the lake is part of the City Wall built after the site was sacked by pirates. Just before heading towards the Stadium Quarter, stop to see the square Minoan Fountain just in front of the Stoa of Antigonus Gonatas.

Published by Julian Worker

Julian was born in Leicester, attended school in Yorkshire, and university in Liverpool. He has been to 94 countries and territories and intends to make the 100 when travel is easier. He writes travel books, murder / mysteries and absurd fiction. His sense of humour is distilled from The Marx Brothers, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and Midsomer Murders. His latest book is about a Buddhist cat who tries to help his squirrel friend fly further from a children's slide.

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