One of the places we visited during our September, 2022 to Greece was the amazing Ancient Delphi. This has been on our bucket list for some time now and we were so excited to be finally roaming this ancient ground.
Ancient Delphi is located 198 km (123 miles) NW of Athens Airport in south central Greece. Ancient Delphi is also about 10 km (6 miles) North of the Gulf of Corinth. There are many sites to see within the complex with ruins on either side of the road.
Built in the 8th century BC, ancient Delphi was a religious complex built into the southwestern slope of Mt. Parnassus in mainland Greece. The sanctuary is dedicated to the god Apollo. Apollo, the son of Zeus, is the god of sun, light, music, and also other objects. Legend states that Apollo slew the serpent Python at Delphi.
Delphi is also the home of the famous Oracle. The Delphi Oracle was a very important part of the Ancient Greek world. The Oracle was a priestess named Pythia, believed to predict the future. Many people would go to Delphi to ask the god Apollo for favors or help and he would answer through the Oracle. Basically the Oracle was an intermediary between the people and the god.
For more information on the history of Ancient Delphi you can follow this link.
North Side of Road-Sanctuary of Apollo
Delphi is a very large archeological site. The main complex is on the north side of the road and in addition, a smaller complex on the south side of the road The ancient site sprawls up the side of the mountain. The paths are easy to follow but there is a lot of incline walking involved. There is a charge to enter this side of the complex and there is also a museum here. We did not have time for the museum but did enjoy the complex. Signs marked and explained the many different ruins which I have found is the norm for archeological areas in Greece.
The Sacred Way
This was the first area the ancients would enter to access the Sanctuary of Apollo. Buildings and statues dedicated to Apollo were on either side of the Sacred Way. During Roman rule this became an Agora.
The Omaphalos of Delphi
This triangular shape stone is a replica of the original marble stone which is in the Museum of Delphi. According to Ancient Greek mythology it is also the naval of the earth. The myth states Zeus put the stone here after two eagles flew from each end of the world and crossed path at this point, thereby marking it as the center, the naval.
The Treasury of the Siphnians
The Treasury was built out of marble around 525 BC as an offering to the god Apollo from the people of Siphnos. According to ancient writings the funding for the building is from ten percent of the proceeds of their gold and silver mining.
Temple of Apollo
The Temple of Apollo is where Pythia would speak and enlighten the people with her predictions and knowledge from Apollo.
Built into the side of the mountain, this amphitheater overlooks the valley below. Imagine attending a music or theatrical event here! In ancient times this theatre also hosted religious events. This amphitheater dates back to 1 A.D. although there were other theatre’s here dating back to 160 B.C. This current theatre can hold 5000 people and also could boast of a stage and orchestra.
This stadium was built to host athletic competitions and races during the Festival of Python that praised the gods Apollo, Leto and Artemis. The festival lasted 6-8 days with the competitions being held on the 5th day.
South Side of Road- Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia
The Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia is dedicated to the god Athena who was idolized for her wisdom, fertility, health, and military victory. She is also the patroness of the city of Athens and the daughter of Zeus. The word pronaia means “the one before the temple”. Dating back as far as 500 B.C. it is a smaller area but includes the famous circular ruin called the Tholos. There was no admission charge to enter the Sanctuary of Athena.
In Conclusion, Delphi, Greece is one amazing place to visit. Not just the history but the beautiful views also add to the ambiance. There is a museum here but unfortunately we arrived too late to visit. I have heard it is really nice. Also we went in the late afternoon and there were very few other people here.