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Mykonos

Today's stop is Mykonos, as seen from our ship.

And up close.

The top picture is a typical street in town, right above the shopping area. The lower picture is a church. There are an unbelievable number of churches in town, believe me. The reason there are so many is that we were told that all churches are privately owned. Are you curious what this means? Yes, I guessed you were. So were we, and we didn't ask, so you can continue being curious.

We did not spend much time on Mykonos. We went there to catch a boat to Delos, which used to be (in olden days) one of the most important islands in Greece, being the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. It was a major trade island, and religious island worshipping the god and goddess born there. Nowadays, the only residents of the island are about a dozen archaeologists.

 

When I first saw Delos, my mind just thought it was an island of lost stones. 

Seriously, we did have a great guide who explained a lot. He could point to a stone and recite its history. Did you ever go to a lecture or presentation and think to yourself "Wow, that's really interesting. The lecturer really knows a lot." Then realized you forgot everything that was said about 2 seconds later. You should go to Delos.

I did remember a couple of things. This was the first place in the world that produced mosaic tiles. They were composed by connecting the tiles using fish stones. That's what the guide said. We finally decided he meant fish bones. The design below is about 2500 years old.

Delos was a major trading center at a time when the Greek rulers maintained an all-inclusive policy. Everyone was welcome and the Greek society was tolerant of everyone's beliefs. Delos had statues to the Greek gods. It was a major port for trade with Alexandria Egypt. There were statues to Egyptian gods built on some of the higher areas of the city. The guide also pointed out some Jewish synagogues. I wondered for a short time why there were no churches, until I realized that this was from a time around 500 BC (before churches). 

If you go back to look at the picture I called a bunch of "lost stones." that was really the remains of the local theater. We were told that every major city was required to have three things. First, an acropolis, where the high city and important buildings were placed. Second, an agora, or market place. And, third, a theater.

Delos seems to have a fourth major component, cats.

Everywhere we walked, there were cats, dozens of them. All friendly. Why? Well, the inhabitants of the island feed them and also vaccinate them. Otherwise, they could prove harmful to the many day-visitors to the island. They are kept because they are good hunters. I imagine there might otherwise be a rodent problem.

That's about it. I'll leave you with another picture of Delos. It's one whose importance was explained to us in detail, a detail I cannot repeat since it was told to me over 3 seconds ago. 

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