Leading us through the ruins of the Ancient temple of Apollo, Yolanda took us back to 3000 years ago when this island played a key role in state politics too. Despite being Apollo and Artemis’s birthplace, Delians did not allow any births on the islands. Pregnant women would leave for nearby islands to deliver their babies. Pilgrims and visitors from faraway lands thronged Apollo’s temple. The island witnessed a meteoric rise from a spiritual centre into a metropolis and an important trade hub, acting as the commercial gateway to Africa and Middle East in those times. Maritime traders, merchants, affluent statesmen and craftsman from as far as Phoenecia, Sumeria, Mesopotamia and Egypt settled here, bringing in with them their Gods, cultures and riches; adding vibrant colours to the cosmopolitan fabric of the island. All this while Apollo’s temple amassed the largest treasure in the realm. The same treasure that was loaned out to various kingdoms for infrastructure projects including the construction of Acropolis and Parthenon. The same treasure that was eventually drained out till the last penny bankrupting the Grand Temple and Sanctuary of Apollo. Well! The story of Delos was a long one stretching into a good 2 hour walk through a maze of ruins. We were shown wealthy mansions with their mosaic fresco floors, clever water harvesting systems, air conditioning systems, ancient refrigeration techniques to keep food fresh and the then largest slave market in the world. All this amidst a group of fluffy and furry big cats roaming in and out of the ruins with us. Emptying a can of cat food into a plastic bowl for them at a Fishermans house (supposedly-as per archaeological assumptions and evidence) within the ruins, Yolanda told us that these cats keep rats and snakes off the island and that they are fed by the local archaeologists. The Sanctuary of Apollo was the most impressive with it’s stone water fountains, various extravagant heavy sculpture gifts from global patrons along with resting and canteen arrangements. Walking up to the row of white marble lions, better known as Naxian Lions, that remain a highly photographed feature of the island; we were told that they were built by the famed artisans of the nearby Naxos island as a tribute to the God. A possibility that Naxians who were very much part of the Cycladic islanders must have seen lions in Egypt to be able to sculpt them here, because lions never existed in Greece. Going through other archaeological findings of a Golden past of the island, we were told that Delos was many times attacked by pirates as it didn’t have a standing defence system. This was because the locals had unshakeable faith in Apollo, believing that nobody would ever attack or harm the land blessed by Apollo himself. There are no records of what exactly brought about the doom of Delos except that under the Roman rule, it did become a free trade port which was the last mention of the island in medieval history.