Peloponnese Road Trip – Delphi

Our last stop on the Peloponnese Road Trip was in the majestic town of Delphi. Situated in the mountains the views are stunning and well worth a trip. Oh, in case you had any doubt, the gyros are awesome!

A bas-relief of the Gods fighting the Giants (the children of Gaia). In the lead are the two archers Artemis and Apollo

View from our Hotel Room
The view to the East of our Hotel room
The view to the West of our Hotel Room
Hannah on her balcony
Colleen captured on the kids balcony
Downtown Delphi – a side street
Sidewalk parking – reminds me of Hanoi except cars instead of motorbikes
Gorgeous view as we walk around town
A beautiful day in Delphi
Heading towards the Delphi Archaeological site
One word – Breathtaking

The Archaeological Site

The first divinity to be worshipped in Delphi, Ge (Earth), correlates with the remains of a Mycenaean building found on the slopes of the hill. The arrival of the cult of Apollo and the role of the Oracle during the second period of colonization in the 8th Century B.C. led to the recognition of Delphi by Homer as a wealthy religious site.

To the south is the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia but the gem of the site is the Sanctuary of Apollo and the ambling road called the Sacred Way.

TheSacred Way once adorned with statues and votives to honour the God Apollo
Ancient Walls
An enclosure
Looking into the valley you can see the road / highway at the middle right edge
What was here I wonder?

The Omphalos of Delphi

According to legend, Zeus released two golden eagles in different directions. When the birds met Zeus threw down the Omphalos which landed in Delphi. The stone, along with the sacred tripod and the prophetic laurel were in the Dayton of the Temple of Apollo, where the Pythia pronounced her oracles.  Beneath the Omphalos was the tomb of Python, the son of the first prophetess Gaia, or that of Dionysus, the sanctuary’s second most important god.

The rock that founded Greece – see the real one in the Museum

The Treasury of the Athenians

The Greek City- states built Treasuries which were small, temple-shaped buildings dedicated to the Gods at sanctuaries. The Treasury of the Athenians is the only intact example. Dedicated to Apollo Pythios by the Athenian citizens; it commemorated either the establishment of Democracy in the city-state of Athens following the collapse of the Peisistratid tyranny (510 BC) or the Athenian victory against the Persians at the Battle of Marathon (490 BC).

The Treasury
Full view of the Treasury
A Grasshopper Tree?
The back of the Treasury roof as we climb to the next level
The Treasury as we return from the top of the hill

The Stoa of the Athenians

The 30m long structure housed the trophies from the Athenian’s naval victories, built between 510 and 470 BC.

Headed to the Temples and Theatre area
Another view of the valley with the Cyprus trees
Hannah stops for a photo
The ruins of a wall or house

The Temple of Apollo

The temple occupies the most important and prominent position in the Delphic sanctuary. The third and final temple built on the site is from the 4th Century BC.

The first glimpse of the Temple of Apollo
A quick shot of the Temple of Apollo before a hoard of school children arrived
A Roman symbol? Perhaps a Wolf?
The tripod of the Plataeans was  a votive or offering for all Greeks celebrating their victory over the Persians in the battle of Plateau in 479 BC. The column was 7,5 m high, covered in gold, and adorned with a three-bodied serpent. The Pocians melted down the gold during the third sacred war (354-343 BC) and the Emperor Constantine took the serpentine column to Constantinople in 330 AD and set it up in the hippodrome where it still stands today.
Looking back towards the Treasury of the Athenians
Emma in front of the Temple of Apollo
The Temple of Apollo

The Theatre

The best preserved monument at Delphi is the theatre which hosted musical and dramatic contests during the Pythian games and other religious festivals. It overlooks the valley of the Pleistos river. First built in the 4th century BC the current form is based on the Early Roman period 1 AD with a seating capacity of 5000 people.

The Theatre of Delphi
The Theatre and the Temple of Apollo from above

The Stadium

The athletic contests of the Pythian religious festival were a major event during the five day ceremony. Built in the 5th century BC; the stadium is three quarters up the hill on a now level plateau/outcropping. Spectators sat on the ground until the Emperor Hadrian and the wealthy Athenian Herodes Atticus built seating and a monumental three-arched entrance in the 2nd century AD.

The Pan-Hellenic Pythian games were second in importance only to the Olympic Games. The Pythian winners received a palm tree twig or a wreath of laurels. The Hoplite race was the final contest of the games where athletes wearing a helmet, greaves and carrying a shield would run a ~700m sprint.

Emma thinks about becoming a hermit!
The Stadium
One of the entrances into the stadium
The length of the Stadium
Ben and Colleen pose for photo during a water break
Standing above the Temple of Apollo
Colleen and Rob pose for a photo on the hill with an amazing view

The Museum

Bronze Shield as an offering or votive. The shield dates to circa 700 BC
Spear heads and an axe blade from 7th Century BC
Lion pediment
White-ground kylix, found in a tomb at Delphi. Apollo wears a wreath of myrtle-leaves, sitting on a stool (with legs in the form of lion paws) and wearing robes of white peplos and red himation draped over his left shoulder. His left hand touches the chords of his lyre while the right hand offers a libation, pouring wine from a navel-phiale.
Heracles and the Cerynean hind
A gift from the island of Cyclades a grandiose statue of the Sphinx made of Naxian marble. The statue with the column stood 12.5 m high.

The Gods Vs the Giants

The Olympian gods fighting the Giants
Battle Scene of the Gods versus the Giants
The last relief of the battle between the Gods and the Giants
A sheet of music on a column from the Temple of Apollo
A Lion waterspout from a roof top eaves trough
Proof that the Greeks built with Lego!
A Human torso attributed to the statue of Telemachos, son of Aknonios an Olympic wrestling champion in 440 BC.
The Philosopher of Delphi
Aknonios, son of Aparos. He lived at the time of the Persian Wars and serve as Military Commander (Tetrarch) of Thessaly. He is wearing a chlamys (short cloak) which is the national dress of the Thessalians.
The marble Omphalos which is probably a Roman reproduction.
Melancholy Roman – considered by some to be the Roman General and Consul Titus Quinctius Famininus who in 197 BC after the defeat of Philip V of Macedonia proclaimed the ‘autonomy’ of the Greek states.
A head on view of the Melancholy Roman
The Charioteer, a bronze statue, buried in an earthquake in 373 BC it survived looting and destruction.
A letter from Emperor Claudius in 52 AD providing guidance on how to encourage new inhabitants to Delphi from other cities.

The Walk Home

Leaving the Museum there is a marble sarcophagus on the steps that is from the area around the Temple of Athena. The figure on top, originally a female was modified to be a male, a common practice to save money. The griffon on the side was quite impressive.

Delphi is an idyllic little community full of shops and restaurants. I enjoyed a couple of great runs although road running is not a safe practice as the roads have no shoulders and no rails … and it is a long way down.

The Archaeological site is well laid out and a must see if you visit Greece. I enjoyed it more than Olympia but not as much as Ancient Messene.

A griffon on a sarcophagus
A beautiful view on the way back to the hotel


2 Replies to “Peloponnese Road Trip – Delphi”

  1. Well that looked stunning. I can see why they chose that particular area for the temple of Apollo. I liked the shield. Inspiration for PAC man no doubt. Emperor Claudius was known as a great administrator. Pics were great. Where are the videos? Demanding aren’t I. Oh you had a spelling error. The last sentence: In = I

    1. Don,

      Thanks! Shield reminded me more of WonderWoman. No videos this time around – not sure why I don’t have any. Good catch on the spelling error; it is corrected.

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