Sacred Precinct, Delos
The Sacred Precinct, which was surrounded by walls and stoas, was approached from the south by a broad paved way running between two Doric stoas above the present harbor. The 87m/285ft long Stoa of Philip V (on the left), open on both sides, has an inscription on the architrave recording that it was built by Philip V of Macedon about 210 B.C. On the right of the road is a smaller stoa with eight shops along the far side. Beyond this, to the east, is the almost square South Agora (first century B.C.). To the north is an open square, on the east side of which are the Southeast Propylaia; on the west side is a passage through the smaller stoa. This whole area, extending north to the Hall of the Bulls, was occupied in the Middle Ages by fortifications erected by the Knights of St John.From the South Propylaia (second century B.C.), which have Doric columns on each side on a three-stepped base, the Festival Way ran north, passing over a small esplanade paved with bluish marble and flanked by altars, statues and exedras and then along the west side of three parallel temples of Apollo, finally turning back round the east side of the temples. A shorter route to the east side of the precinct was by way of the long Ionic portico, with narrow open colonnades on each side, just inside the South Propylaia (immediately on right). At its north end is the base of a colossal statue of Apollo, with an inscription (sixth century B.C.) indicating that the statue and its base were carved from a single block of stone; the dedication on the west side ("The Naxians to Apollo") was a later addition.On the left of the Festival Way, beyond the esplanade, is a precinct containing a stoa and two temples. The larger of the temples, the Keraton, at the southwest corner, was dedicated to Apollo and contained a famous horned altar, regarded as one of the wonders of the world, with rams' horns set round it. The Keraton, believed to be older than the Artemision (shrine of Artemis) in the center of the precinct, is an Ionic temple surrounded by columns built on granite foundations, probably the successor to an earlier temple of the seventh century B.C.In front of the entrance to the Keraton, which faces south, are a number of bases for equestrian statues, the most northerly and smallest of which bore a statue of Sulla (inscription on rear).Northwest of the precinct of Artemis is the Thesmophorion, which was dedicated to the cult of Demeter.To the east of the Artemision, the Festival Way takes a U-turn round the three parallel temples of Apollo. The most southerly of these (fourth-third century B.C.), which resembles the Theseion in Athens in layout, is the largest of the three, covering an area of 26.4m/87ft by 13.55m/44ft. The massive foundations, built on a stratum of grayish-blue slate, show that the temple was peripteral, with 6 by 13 columns.The pronaos at the east end and opisthodomos at the west end probably had two columns between the antae. The naos measured 11.5m/38ft by 5.6m/18ft. Of the temple itself little is left except the Doric columns and some fragments of the frieze of triglyphs, and of the sculptural decoration only the palmette ornament and the lions' heads from the sima remain.Immediately north of this temple are the foundations, built in poros limestone, of the Temple of the Athenians (late fifth century B.C.; Doric), with a small pronaos and opisthodomos and a naos divided into two parts. Beyond this is the oldest of the temples (first half of sixth century B.C.), built of poros limestone. In front of this temple is a long statue base on which there were once bronze figures - a monument (third century B.C.) in honor of Proletairos, founder of the royal house of Pergamon.On the north side of the bend in the Festival Way are five small buildings, four of them facing the three temples. On the basis of their similarity to the corresponding buildings at Olympia and Delphi four of them are believed to be treasuries. The fifth (the most southerly), with a pronaos and opisthodomos, was probably a temple. Facing its entrance is the Prytaneion, seat of the chief magistrate (fifth century B.C.).
At Delos, on the west side of the precinct of Apollo, are propylaia leading out of the Sacred Precinct into the commercial quarter of the city. At the near end of the street, which is lined with shops, is the Agora of the Italians (second century B.C.), a large square area surrounded by two-story colonnaded halls containing shops, workshops and recesses for votive offerings (mosaics). This was the headquarters of the corporation of Roman merchants, who called themselves Hermaists after their patron Hermes. Another similar establishment, the headquarters of the Poseidoniasts of Berytos (Beirut), lay northwest of the Sacred Lake. To the north of the entrance to the Agora of the Italians is the temple of Leto, and farther west is the Stoa of Antigonos (third century B.C.).