One of the joys of touring Europe with a car is the ability to reach far-flung places with ease. Delphi was on my radar as a place to visit. You see I have this insatiable curiosity for all things ancient and especially Greek mythology.
The Delphi Archaeological Site
I have visited various archeological sites in Turkey (modern-day Anatolia), and it only feeds my lust for discovering ancient sites. I crossed over from Turkey and made my way to the foot of Mount Parnassus and along the twin rocks of the Phaedriades, a sanctuary of Delphi. The most famed of all Greek Oracle was thought to have resided here, and Delphi was regarded as the center of the world. It is more than just another collection of ruins in a country that has many of them.
In the antiquities, Delphi had special meaning; it was viewed as the focal point of the known world, the place where earth and the heavens meet. It is intriguing just to get lost in ruins and conjure images of a bygone era. How did they live? What were they doing this exact minute hundreds of years ago?
This theater dates back all the way to the fourth century BC. It could host 5,000 spectators in its heyday. The theater was built around 4th century B.C. just up the hill from the temple of Apollo.
It gave the seated audience an amazing view of the valley and the sanctuary down below. Local Parnassus limestone was used in its construction and subsequently remodeled a few times. The theater was capable of seating around five thousand people. It pushed out plays, readings, poetry, and all sorts of musical events during festivals at Delphi.
This treasury was built around 510 BC and is a Doric temple. It was built with marbles that came from the island of Paros. What you’re looking at here is actually a restored version. It’s not a treasury in the traditional sense like a bank – it holds Athenian offerings to the Oracle.
The Tholos was built in 380 BC and was based on a circular plan of 20 Doric columns on the exterior and 10 Corinthian Columns inside. This was built with the leftovers of Temple of Apollo. The essential structure in this place, are the foundations. It featured columns, sculptures inside and was rebuilt in the same location three times over. It is here, in the inner temple, where a priestess would sit and utter the message of the Oracle, which was sent to her by the god Apollo and translated by the priests.
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The ruins are located amidst a beautiful landscape where you can just get lost and marvel at a civilization long gone. If you can spare a day, you owe it to yourself to visit this wonderful site. If you had more time, I recommend you check out the Aegina Island it’s another spot where you can find ancient temple such as The Temple of Aphaea.