Delphi was the pinnacle of our trip, from our hotel balcony you can see the
Port of Itea.
Ancient Delphi is perched on the slopes of Mt Parnassus and looks down on
the Gulf of Corinth. According to Greek myth, Zeus released two eagles from
opposite ends of the earth and they met in the sky above Delphi. Impaling
one another with their beaks, they fell to the ground on the very center of
the world, hence the belief that Delphi was the navel of the universe. The
site is marked by the Omphalos (navel) stone.
Ancient Delphi, now a UNESCO world heritage site, reached its peak in the
5th and 4th century BC. The Oracle was extremely influential attracting
pilgrims from across the ancient world, generals, kings, and individuals of
all ranks came to ask Apollo's advice on the best course to take in war,
politics, love and family. After the enquirer made a sacrifice, a woman
known as the Phythia uttered cryptic pronouncements which were translated by
a priest. It was through her that Apollo spoke. The priestess sat on a
tripod over a chasm in the ground and spoke in riddles which were often
unintelligible. The chasm is believed to be somewhere within the Temple of
Apollo. (In 1996, exploration revealed the presence of methane, ethane and
ethylene in the water of a spring which runs under the Oracle. These gases
can produce unconsciousness and at lower concentration can induce a trance
state allowing the affected person to remain conscious, sit up, respond to
questions, and experience out-of-body feelings and euphoria)
The main site is the Temple of Apollo a large Doric temple which housed the
Oracle. The Temple was inscribed with quotes from Greek Philosophers and
contained a massive golden statue of Apollo.
The 4th century BC theater just above the Temple one of the best preserved
in Greece. It has 35 rows and could seat 5,000.
Not far from the temple is the Sanctuary of Athena within the Sanctuary is
the Tholos a circular structure that is one of the most photographed
monument in all of Greece.
At its peak, every available space along the Sacred Way was filled with
Treasury buildings, statues and votive offerings. These were donated by
important cities to thank the Oracle for helpful advice. The most notable
is the Treasury of the Athenians, dating to 490 BC.
We walked up the mountain from the theater to see the stadium and gymnasium,
it took over 1/2 hour each way. Also visited the onsite museum (no flash
allowed so limited pictures) The whole site is an overwhelming experience.
While sitting outside talking to people from our tour, I found out that one
lady from Calgary, a guy from California and a couple of Kelowna lived in
Montreal in 1967. The couple from Kelowna are friends of Mel and Carol
Stone .... small world!
Thanks Barry & Louise D.