Delos had a position as a holy sanctuary for a millennium before Olympian Greek mythology made it the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. From its Sacred Harbour, the horizon shows the two conical mounds that have identified landscapes sacred to a goddess in other sites: one, retaining its Pre-Greek name Mount Kynthos, is crowned with a sanctuary of Zeus. Established as a cultural and religious centre, Delos had an importance that its natural resources could never have offered.
Investigation of ancient stone huts found on the island indicate that it has been inhabited since the 3rd millennium BCE. Thucydides identifies the original inhabitants as piratical Carians who were eventually expelled by King Minos of Crete. By the time of the Odyssey the island was already famous as the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis (although there seems to be some confusion of Artemis' birthplace being either Delos or the island of Ortygia). Indeed, between 900 BCE and 100 CE, sacred Delos was a major cult centre, where Dionysus is also in evidence as well as the Titaness Leto, mother of the above-mentioned twin deities. Eventually acquiring Panhellenic religious significance, Delos was initially a religious pilgrimage for the Ionians.
The island had no productive capacity for food, fibre, or timber, with such being imported. Limited water was exploited with an extensive cistern and aqueduct system, wells, and sanitary drains. Various regions operated agoras (markets). Delos - unlike other Greek islands - did not have an indigenous, self-supporting community of its own. As a result, in later times it became uninhabited. In 1990, UNESCO inscribed Delos on the World Heritage List, citing it as the "exceptionally extensive and rich" archaeological site which "conveys the image of a great cosmopolitan Mediterranean port".
This post is part of the Wednesday Waters meme,
and also part of the Waterworld Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.