Ancient Delos and Antony Gorman

Over the next few days we sailed north west across the Cyclades stopping overnight on Skhinoussa, Vathi on Astapalia and Naoussa on Naxos. We’d been looking forward to Naoussa as we had visited here 5 years ago on Matilda and loved it. It’s still beautiful, amazing white buildings with stylish seating areas around the harbour, trendy little clothes and arty shops, but it seems much more expensive to me this time, catering more for the super yachts rather than the tourists. Restaurants are expensive and the bars on the front serve fancy cocktails at €15 and bottled Italian beer.

We left Naxos early so we could visit Delos, one of the most important archeological sites in Greece. Its only 5 km long by 1.3 km wide but became the most sacred place as it was where Leto give birth to Apollo and Artemis. In 1000 BC the Ionians arrived and started worshipping Apollo. By 700 BC it was a major religious centre where people came to consult the Delos oracle and by 3rd and 2nd centuries BC it was a busy thriving port. Around 80 BC it was sacked by the Romans and lost its importance.

The site is now uninhabited and many tourists come by trip boat to visit it. Private yachts can anchor off but are not allowed to remain overnight.

I probably wouldn’t have made the effort to come here except that I heard that Sir Antony Gorman, the British sculptor, has an exhibition there. I’ve always loved his Angel of the North and would have loved to see his Another Place exhibition on Crosby Beach in Merseyside which has 100 cast iron figures facing out to sea. This exhibition is called Sight and consists of 29 iron sculptures scattered throughout the site ‘restoring human presence and creating a journey of potential encounters’! Not sure about that but they were certainly striking, popping up in odd places and looking like they should be there. I love the fact that the Greeks would allow such a thing in an ancient place. Can you imagine them doing that at Stonehenge?!

One of 5 figures he brought over from Another Place

Gorman used his own body to make the casts.

Water

Another Time III

Rule – mounted on an exact replica of the ancient column.

Vice

Knot

These are copies of the Naxion Lions that were carved in the 7th c BC out of marble and placed over looking the Sacred Lake.

The originals are in the museum.

There’s us anchored off a 3000 year old Ancient site. What a privilege!

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