Are You a Part of the Future of Delphi, Greece? A UNESCO World Heritage Site

So, what is Delphi?

The archaeological site at Delphi is situated on the southwestern slopes of Mt. Parnassus overlooking the Pleistos Valley in Greece. The site consists of 126 acres and has a splendid view of the valley below. About a two hour drive northwest from Athens, ancient Delphi was a temple complex dedicated to the god Apollo and was active from the 8th century BC through the 2nd century AD. In ancient times, pilgrims to Delphi sought prophecies from the oracles, and made offerings to Apollo, the god of wisdom, knowledge, music, and prophecy. Greek cities even built treasury buildings and special altars to Apollo. Additionally, according to their mythology, ancient Greeks believed that Delphi was the navel (omphalos) or center of the universe. In addition to the temple of Apollo and the treasury buildings, there are also the remains of a theater, an athletic stadium, and a circular temple dedicated to Athena. Today, there is a museum on the site and visitors can tour the ruins either with or without a guide.

Visitors to Delphi walk around the remains of the temple of Apollo and other parts of the Sanctuary of Delphi on the slope of Mt. Parnassus, Greece.
According to mythology, Zeus found the center of teh world by releasing two eagles flying in opposite directions. Where the eagles crossed flightpaths marked the center of the world, which was in Delphi. The original carved marker for the navel, or omphalos, of the world (right photo), is in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. At Delphi, a conical marker indicates the place where the omphalos was located (bottom left photo).
The Sanctuary at Delphi was dedicated to the god Apollo. On the left is the chryselephantine (ivory and gold made to look realistic) statue of Apollo, and on the right a kylix, or drinking vessel, depicting Apollo and a crow, which was supposed to be the bird that communicated between Apollo and people on Earth.
The famous reconstructed Athenian Treasury.
The ancient stadium where the Panhellenic games were held every four years.
The circular Temple of Athena at Delphi. This temple is about half a mile down the slope from the Temple of Apollo. It sits outside of the Sanctuary of Apollo and served as a spiritually protective element for the area surrounding it.

Click the button to see items that were excavated from the site at Delphi.

Delphi's Importance as a Religious and Cultural Center

Delphi served many purposes during its active period. As far back as the 6th century BC, not only Greeks but also kings and others from far away lands made tribute at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Also, four wars were fought based on the prophecies of the oracles at Delphi. Moreover, Every four years, Delphi was the host of the Pythian Games, athletic and musical contests that involved participants from all over the Greek peninsula. Besides the activities at Delphi, the man-made structures are beautifully incorporated into the magnificent mountain slope. The combination of its history and natural setting make this one of the wonders of the ancient world.

Delphi has influenced Greek and Western history. This is a rendering of what the Sanctuary of Apollo might have looked like when the site was actively used.
The Ruins of the Temple of Apollo, where supplicants sought the oracles prophecies.
King Aegeus consults the Pythia, the name for the oracle at Delphi, who is seated. Attic red-figure kylix, 440–430 BC.
Here, Orestes seeks a prophecy from the Pythia. [Orestes at Delphi, Paestan red-figured bell-krater, ca. 330 BCE]
This bronze charioteer in the Museum at Delphi originally was part of a larger sculpture that featured the chariot and four bronze horses.
Even in the Percy Jackson books and movies, the Oracle of Delphi plays a very important role!

Protecting Delphi

The site was excavated from the dirt. We need to make sure it does not get damaged or covered again!

Before Delphi became a nationally protected location, invaders and others stole many artifacts and building elements from the site. Today, the site is protected so looters do not remove things from the site. Also, the site is now geologically monitored and erosion and seismic changes can be managed to minimize decay of the site. Employees at the site make sure to remove weeds and other plants that grow in the cracks and spaces between architectural stones so they do not cover or damage the archaeological remains of Delphi. If this magnificent site were not protected in such a way, the remaining columns and other building components could be stolen and the existing archaeological excavation of the site could be covered or damaged by natural processes.

Grass grows in the cracks and between stones at the theater at Delphi. Today, employees spend much time removing organic material from between the stones and on the site so it does not get damaged or covered up.

Visit Delphi! It's a great place to experience what ancient Greece was like.

Delphi is a popular tourist destination and is easily accessible from Athens and other Greek cities. For travelers from Houston, numerous airlines fly to Athens from Bush Intercontinental Airport, usually with one stopover, for less than $1000. Visitors can stay in Athens and take a day trip to Delphi with a tour company, rent a car and travel on one´s own. Besides staying in Athens, where one can take in other cultural sites such as the Acropolis, visitors to Delphi might choose to stay in the town of Arahova, an quaint old small mountain sports center town about 20 minutes down the road from Delphi.

Only 20 minutes away from Delphi

Click the buttons for information about a day tour to Delphi.

The Weather

Most visitors tour Greece in the summer to enjoy the Mediterranean Sea, but summers are hot and humid. Consider visiting Greece in the winter, when the temperature is cooler, and fewer tourists make for no or shorter lines at sites, better opportunities for unobstructed photos, and cheaper hotel and restaurant rates. Savings of up to 65% can be had if one travels to Greece in the winter!

If you enjoy swimming, then summer is definitely the best time to visit Greece. However, Delphi is in the mountains where weather is typically cooler than at sea level. Visiting Delphi in the winter is comfortable and affords the luxury of shorter lines and fewer tourists than in summer. Compared to summer, when tourists flock to Greece, having so few tourists makes for great photo opportunities and a no-rush feeling when visiting the sites.

So if you love history, Greek mythology, mountains, and nature, Delphi is a place for you!

Created By
Jay Cherin
Appreciate

Credits:

Created with images by Verity Cridland - "Delphi" • Andy Hay - "Treasury of the Athenians, Delphi" • Andy Hay - "Stadium, Delphi" • Nagarjun - "Athena Pronaia Sanctuary at Delphi"

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