Archaeological Site of Delphi

The archaeological site of Delphi is situated in a rather divine area, in a place that seems dictated by Gods. The archaeological site of Delphi is one of the most important and imposing cultural heritages of Greece, with a vast and significant influence and contribution to the development and expansion of the ancient Greek civilization.

Click for a large map of the Archaeological site of Delphi

Click for a large map of the Archaeological site of Delphi

The archaeological site of Delphi is situated at the foot of Mount Parnassus, at the angle formed by the twin rocks of Phaedriades; the Sanctuary of Delphi, as it is mostly known, was the most famous Oracle of the Hellenic Era.

The first excavation in Delphi started in 1838 on a small scale, continued in 1860, then was elaborated by Greeks with the contribution of the French Archaeological School of Athens and was concluded in 1935. Ever since, a well appointed plan of restoring and preserving the site is taking place in the area.

The Sanctuary in Delphi was the hub of the Amphictyonic League, a formation founded by twelve city states of South Central Greece. The purposes of the League were merely religious, but then turned on a more political side, as the Amphictyonic League started controlling the finances of the Sanctuary, enhancing and expanding its role and influence throughout Greece. During the 6th century BC, Delphi became an autonomous administrative centre with immense political influence in Greece.

The Temple of God Apollo and the Treasury, Perivolos and the temple of other Gods can be found on site, at the southern foot of Mount Parnassus, on the right driving to Delphi from Arachova. In the centre of the Sanctuary plateau you can see the imposing Dorian Temple of Apollo.

The Sacred Street that leads to the Temple features on both sides the buildings of the Treasuries, where the ancient state-cities were guarding their money and valuables, as well as several monuments and anathemas. On the Northwestern side of the Temple lays the Ancient Theatre of Delphi, a theatre of 5,000 seats where the Delphic Festival used to take place in the antiquity. The cornerstone of this festival was the representation of the victory of God Apollo against the Python Snake; this is the reason why the Games taking place during the festival were named “Pythia”.  The stadium where the Games took place is located on the west, a few minutes away from the theatre, on a little higher elevation.

On the right side of the entrance of the Sanctuary, you can see the famous Castalia Spring, where Pythia the Oracle was enjoying her bath before taking her position at the altar in order to speak her visions and oracles. A little further down on the left, you can find the Temple of Goddess Athena the Pronaia; according to the findings, the temple was dedicated since the Mycenaean Era to a female deity. The Dome – “Tholos” in Greek – is one of the most intriguing architectural constructions of the antiquity and has been the center of attention of several Schools of Archaeologists around the world, but so far its use remains unknown.

In 1927 and 1930 the Greek Poet Aggelos Sikelianos and his wife Eve tried to revive the Delphic Mysteries and Festivals, re-establishing Delphi as the cultural centre of the World, holding theatrical plays and an array of cultural events on the actual archeological site, but the attempt failed due to the world political events of the time.

Today, the Archaeological Site of Delphi is included in the UNESCO list of “Sacred Places” of the World and is considered one of the most significant tourist destinations in the world, still fascinating people and scientists throughout the world.

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