Here the god Apollo he spoke and the men listened. It is Delphi, on the slopes of the mountain Parnassusabove the Gulf of Corinthone of the most famous places of worship in Greece because here was precisely the temple of the god. And the Pythia, his priestess, mysteriously, granted predictions. Tradition has it that the foundation site of the sanctuary was established by Zeus in person by means of two eagles that landed here. A definitive sign: here was the navel of the world. And it wasn’t a song but the symbol of a very special place. Now the archaeological site of Delphi is a world heritage ofUnesco and together with theAcropolis from Athens, Olympia and the island of Delos it is one of the most important legacies of the classical period of Greece.
A richness that derives from the presence of very important remains but also from the location between the mountains at about a 180 kilometers northwest of Athens. The beauty is that as our guide to the archaeological site of Delphi reminds you that you just have to stretch your gaze to the horizon. And you can see the splendid sea of Greece.
The guide of the archaeological site of Delphi: two steps between the places of divinity
There Via Sacra it is the main road that crosses the archaeological site of Delphi and along a path of about two hundred meters uphill it reaches the Temple of Apollo. Originally along this route were the monuments and treasures erected as a sign of homage by the various cities of the Ancient Greece. Many of those monuments have disappeared with time but the basement often remained. And some are still standing to surprise us with their beauty as is the case with Treasury of the Athenians. This monument was built around 510 BC (but was actually remodeled in 1903) is a temple in doric style built with the marble of Paros.
It was intended to host offers coming precisely from Athens and intended for god Apollo. It still strikes for the beauty of the frieze that adorns it but it is a copy. The original is preserved and protected in the fine museum located within the site.
The temple of Apollo
Also of the Temple of Apollothe most important building in the archaeological site of Delphi, what remains are basically only the foundations. The current temple, or rather the one we see, was built in doric style in the 4th century BC, keeping as a basis the bottom of the more archaic temple which dates back to the 6th century BC and part of the original columns. It is here that, in the heart of the sanctuary, the Pythia she was sitting and pronouncing her prophecies that they said were sent directly from Apollo. In reality, interpreting its meaning was very difficult. It is said that the priestess spoke in a sort of trance. The result was dark words.
Guide to the archaeological site of Delphi: the inscriptions of antiquity
Behind the Sanctuary of Apollo is what has gone down in history as the polygonal wall which had the task of supporting the platform on which the temple stands. Is long ninety meters and dates back to the 6th century BC and the stones that compose it are cut into unusual polygonal shapes. This explains the name of polygonal wall. On the ancient stones, some are noticeable carved inscriptions: there are very ancient ones: the most famous is attributed to a tyrant of Syracuse came all the way here to thank the god for letting him win an equestrian competition at the olympic games.
A place also for sport. And for poetry
A stairway then leads to the theater. Dating back to the 4th century BC, with subsequent alterations during the Roman period, the theater could accommodate 5,000 spectators on thirty-five rows of stone pews. It was built to host music competitions in the pythic games which were held in Delphi from 582 BC onwards. The games took place every four years and they were obviously dedicated to Apollo. Their date was fixed: two years before those of Olympia and interspersed with those Histhymic and those of Nemea. Unlike those of Olympia, poets and musicians also challenged each other here.
Finally we arrive at stage which is located in the highest part of the archaeological site of Delphi, about fifty meters above the Theater. It was built in the 5th century BC but gained its present appearance under the occupation of the Romans in the 2nd century AD. Its long row of seats could accommodate 500 spectators. As the Theaterthis stadium was also built to host the pythic games. This was in particular the place of athletic competitions.
A curiosity is located in a rocky gorge east of the sacred area. here are the remains of two monumental fountains which also bore carvings in the rocks and spaces for votive offerings. This was the point where the priestess of Apollo he washed, as well as those who wished to consult the oracle and who had the duty to purify themselves before entering the temple of Apollo.
Guide to the archaeological site of Delphi: columns and objects on display in the museum
Close to temple of Athena of the 4th century BC, is the Tholos: it is a circular base with the remains of twenty Doric columns on the outside and ten Corinthian columns on the inside. It was built around 380 BC and although its exact function is unknown it is considered a masterpiece of classical architecture comparable to those of Athens. Finally, a visit to the Delphi Archaeological Museum which presents a fascinating collection of artifacts from the site, among friezes, statues, votive offerings and steles. The exhibits are displayed in chronological order and arranged in fourteen rooms. There is also a café where you can refresh your throat on hot summer days.