Delos: the birthplace of a Greek god

An ancient theater on the Greek island of Delos has received funding for a major renovation. The Greek government has earmarked 1.5 million euros ($2 million) to make the site more attractive for the thousands of tourists who visit it every year.

Delos was an important religious site in ancient Greece, being the purported birthplace of Apollo. Delos is one of the smallest of the Cyclades Islands, which are a favorite destination for many travelers for their historical importance and natural beauty.

The theater was finished in 250 B.C., and constructed entirely of marble. It could seat up to 6,500 people and it may be used as a theater again once the restoration is completed. Restoration work will include putting together the jigsaw puzzle of many broken pieces of marble, clearing away the plants that have grown on the site and providing drainage to minimize water damage.

The entire island of Delos is one of Greece’s seventeen UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is rich with archaeological remains. Archaeologists from the French School at Athens have been excavating at Delos since 1872 and are still making major finds. One of the most attractive is the Sacred Way leading to the sanctuary of Apollo. The road is flanked with carved lions, much the way sacred paths in Egypt were flanked with sphinxes. Besides Apollo’s sanctuary, there were also spaces set aside as sacred to Dionysus. Several giant phallic symbols sacred to the god of wine and partying have been found. You can see a couple in the photo gallery below.

Sumptuous mosaics have been discovered in many of the buildings as well as statues and richly painted pottery. Many of these finds are displayed in the local museum, one of the best in Greece.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


Get weird at Obscura Day this weekend

We spend our travel lives hunting down the world’s most famous sights like the Eiffel Tower and Machu Picchu. But did you ever consider the amazing sights right in your own backyard? That’s the idea behind Obscura Day, an international event taking place in 80 cities worldwide on March 20th.

Obscura Day is dedicated to celebrating the strange and interesting sights found in our hometowns. In San Francisco, a tour will be visiting the Musee Mecanique, a museum devoted to antique coin operated carnival games. In Detroit, the tour will bring visitors to the Heidelberg Project, and “outsider art” project made from found objects. Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, the tour will bring visitors inside the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel, a 170-year-old subway tunnel Gadling visited last year. Those living outside the U.S. will find plenty to do as well, with events taking place from Canada to Iceland to Japan.

Want to investigate the weirder side of your own home town? Head over to the Obscura Day event page and see if there’s a tour near you. Hurry though, tours are filling up quick!%Gallery-72634%


Be sure to check out Episode 5 of Travel Talk TV, which features a Santa Cruz beach adventure; explains why Scottish money is no good; shows how to cook brats the German way; and offers international dating tips!