Travel Plans: Delphi, Greece

This is my second travel post based on my upcoming 35 day trip to Europe this summer.

After a few days in Athens, Greece, I’m headed over to Delphi, Greece. (See all the places I’m visiting this summer on the Travel page!)


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In ancient times, Delphi was considered to be the center of the known world.  It was the place where heaven and earth met and where man was closest to God.  In Mythology, Delphi was the meeting place of two eagles that were released by Zeus and sent in opposite directions.  The place that the two eagles met was to be considered the center of the earth.  Delphi is known as the place of worship for the God Apollo, who is the son of Zeus.  Apollo embodied spiritual clarity and moral discipline.  However, even before Delphi was associated with Apollo, there were other gods and goddesses worshipped there, including Gea, Themis, Demeter, and Poseidon.  By the end of the Mycenanean period, Apollo had displaced these other deities and became the guardian of the oracle –  a spiritual experience.  The spirit of Apollo was requested advice on life issues and matters relating to the state.  The questions were asked to the Pythia, the priestess who channeled the spirit of the God.

The center of Delphi is the Sanctuary of Apollo.  The temple was the home of the Pythia, who seated on a tripod above a deep crevasse.  She would pronounce her prophesies while the priests wrote them down and translated them to the people. This temple was destroyed by fire in the fourth century  BC and was then rebuilt. The temple walls used to be inscribed with words of wisdom such as “Know Thyself” and “Nothing in Excess.”

Sanctuary of Apollo

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Nearby is a theater and a large stadium, famous for chariot races.  It was renovated by Herod Atticus and is considered to be the best preserved in Greece.

Delphi Theater

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Delphi Stadium

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The Sacred Way is a road that leads to the temple.  On the Sacred Way, you will pass the  treasuries and monuments that commemorate great events. In ancient times this road was lined with statues and gifts given by the city state in tribute to Apollo in thanks for victories in battle. The treasury of the Athenians has been reconstructed.

The Sacred Way

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Temple of Pronaia Athena is probably the most widely recognized building on the site.  Unfortunately, we do not know what the temple was used for. Beyond the temple is the Gymnasium and the Paliastra.  These were used to train the athletes who competed in the Pythian games, which was held every four years to commemorate Apollo’s victory over Python. Also, the Castelian Spring is where pilgrims washed themselves before consulting the oracle.  The clear water still flows from it today.

Tholos Temple in Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia

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Beyond the ruins, I am also visiting the Delphi Museum, which houses ancient artifacts found in Delphi, Greece.

I will be in Delphi, Greece for less than a day.  I am taking a night ferry over to Corfu, Greece after!

Have you been to Greece before?  If so, what is your favorite place in Greece?

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1 Comment

Filed under Europe

One response to “Travel Plans: Delphi, Greece

  1. Pingback: Travel Plans: Corfu, Greece | Seven Plates

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