The Heraion

Returning to the foot of the hill by the stepped path and turning north, you descend to an area dense in the ruins of superimposed buildings and temples. In earliest times this area was dedicated to Hera, the goddess whose vengeance pursued Leto until she finally settled on Delos to give birth to the two divine twins. Hera was most likely venerated here in a largely propitiatory fashion: even though her role was an obstructive one in the story of Apollo and Artemis, the great goddess was nonetheless never to be overlooked, and it was appropriate to mark her cult here with an important sanctuary. The venerable, 6th century bc Temple of Hera is immediately to the north— just beyond a broken altar on a platform—consisting of a south-facing entrance with two standing columns, and an east wall of fine construction in marble which rises almost imperceptibly in the centre. The interior floor is now missing, but reveals the solid base of what has been identified as a preceding, late Geometric period temple below, constructed with wood and mud-brick elements, which remains in effect enshrined by the later temple. The building is firmly identified by the dedication to Hera of numerous vases and terracotta figurines found here.

Delos Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.

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