What to see in Delphi, Greece?

Delphi

Delphi is probably the most famous place of classical Greece. The city sits on the slope of Mount Parnassus and is surrounded by stunningly beautiful nature. It was in Delphi that the two eagles released by Zeus met, flying around the globe, after which the city was declared the “navel of the earth” (omphalos) , its center; it was here that Apollo killed the serpent Python, son of the goddess Gaia, to whom the sanctuary was originally dedicated.

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Delphi’s Oracle.

In the eighth century, the ancient deities disappeared, and Apollo appropriated the oracle that whispered in the depths of the cleft – the same oracle that would make Delphi the religious and moral center of the ancient world centuries later. His fame never ceased to grow, and soon no important decision in politics, commerce or religion could be made without the oracle’s approval.

Delphi’s power was based on fabulous wealth, the city-states and all the Mediterranean colonies competed in the generosity of gifts to the oracle. Every four years the Pythian Games were held to commemorate Apollo’s victory over the serpent Python. Under Roman rule Delphi was sacked by Nero and Sulla, but later rebuilt by Hadrian. The oracle was finally abolished by the Byzantine emperor Theodosius I at the end of the 4th century.

The sanctuary at Delphi and its springs are at the foot of two steep reddish cliffs, the Thadriatic Cliffs, over 1,200 meters high. Deep in the gorge that separates the two massifs, the icy waters of the Castalia spring from the pool where the oracle performed his ritual ablutions.

Sacred Road

The entrance to the sanctuary leads through the agora where the traders of the temple used to gather in Roman times. Walking through the sacred area (themenos) , you will see a large road, on the edges of which were once monuments and treasuries erected by large cities, islands and colonies of ancient Greece, to store gifts from the inhabitants in them.

Temple of Apollo

Turning 180°, the sloping road approaches the retaining wall of the Temple of Apollo made of carefully fitted stones, the most sacred place in Delphi. The 83 meter long wall is patterned with hundreds of inscriptions carved by freed slaves. Finally we have the sanctuary itself, which was rebuilt in the fourth century BC. Subsequently only a few of the columns have been reconstructed. This was the place where the Pythias sang.

The theater

Near the temple stands the theater of the 4th century BC with a seating capacity of at least 5000 spectators. The Pythian games were once held there but now it only comes to life during the summer festivals. The highest point of the sanctuary offers a stunning panorama, encompassing the steps, the temple, the olive groves, the tholos and the piercing, glistening blue of the waters of the Bay of Itea.

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Stadium

The path that turns left leads to the stadium (3rd century B.C.) with a seating capacity of 7000. Its stone steps were completed in Roman times.

Tolos

Just below the main sanctuary, on the opposite side of the road, is the only major trace of the sanctuary of Athena Marmaria – the Tolos. It is a circular building of exceptionally harmonious proportions, even if it has only three columns and part of the entablature. Its exact role is unknown.

Museum

The museum at Delphi has an extraordinary collection of works from the Archaic and Classical periods, the palm of which undoubtedly belongs to the Ascendant. This 5th century BC bronze statue was found in 1896, having lain for 2000 years under construction debris where it ended up as a result of an earthquake. Surprisingly natural, with a face that bears the mark of quiet pride and onyx eyes, the chariot charioteer is depicted performing his lap of honor. You can also admire the 6th century BC archaic sphinx, a gift from the island of Naxos, two caryatids and frieze elements from several treasuries, including Sifnos, two tall kuroses and an amazing wooden statue of a bull lined with silver plates.

Parnassus

The snow on the peaks of Mount Parnassus, the home of Apollo and his Muses, does not melt until early summer. It lies a few kilometers northeast of Delphi. Reaching 2,457 meters at its highest point, Liacouras Peak, the massif has become popular with Athenians who come here to ski in winter and hike in summer. It is possible to make the ascent without much difficulty, it takes a little over an hour.

Arahova

This mountain village built at 960 meters above sea level, on the road from Delphi to Athens is now a bustling place. The stone houses have been transformed into craft shops, cafes and restaurants. Here you can buy traditional handicrafts, and in spring (April 23) go to the colorful festival of the shepherds. This day marks the beginning of the season, when shepherds go to the pastures.

Sightseeing in Delphi

Temple of Apollo in Delphi Castalia Spring Sanctuary of Apollo Monastery of the Blessed Luke National Park Parnassus Archaeological Museum in Delphi Museum of the Tile and Brick Factory The Nave of the Earth Ancient Delphi

This site contains Delphi sights – photos, descriptions and travel tips. The list is based on popular travel guides and is presented by type, name and rating. Here you’ll find answers to what to see in Delphi, where to go, and where to find popular and interesting places in Delphi.

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Temple of Apollo at Delphi

Temple of Apollo in Delphi (photo)

According to one of the legends hovering around this place, Zeus once released two eagles in different parts of the world that met at Delphi. Since then, the Greeks perceived this city as the center of the universe.

The Delphic temple appeared in antiquity and its main purpose was to tell fortunes. According to legend, the Delphi oracle did not originally belong to Apollo, but to the earth goddess Gaia. At that time, the very first diviner was a nymph named Daphne. And one day Apollo took possession of the temple – in order to do so he had to kill the dragon Python, who was guarding the oracle. To save her life and avoid persecution, Daphne transformed herself into a laurel tree. After this conquest, Apollo earned the nickname “Pythian.” From that moment on, the laurel tree was revered as sacred in Delphi. In addition, major sporting events, better known as the Pythian Games, were regularly held at Delphi in honor of Apollo’s oracle.

The temple of Apollo at Delphi played an essential role in the life of the ancient Greeks for centuries. They tried to avoid any serious undertaking without consulting the oracle at Delphi, no matter if it was a private or public matter. The stone foundation with steps and several Doric columns have survived.

Coordinates: 38.48107400,22.48832700

Kastalla source

Castal spring (photo)

The source of inspiration, the home of the Muses, is at the foot of the rock of the Phaedrias, in whose wall small niches were carved for the gifts brought by the pilgrims.

It is the oldest of the Delphic shrines, and it was probably for this reason that Apollo chose it as his refuge. It has to do with the chemical fumes that emanated from the depths of the earth and “inspired” the Pythia Oracle.

According to one legend, three sips from this spring will make you a poet, six will bring good luck in business, and nine will give you love.

Coordinates: 39.57182200,22.41210900

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Sanctuary of Apollo

Sanctuary of Apollo (photo)

In ancient times, the temple of Apollo was of great importance to the culture of ancient Greece. Here was located the Delphi’s Oracle – the great oracle, where even Alexander the Great himself came to ask for prophecy.

The Delphi’s Oracle was headed by Pythia, the priestess-torceress, who spent almost all her life in the temple of Apollo. Pilgrims from all over the world came to her, but she did not accept everyone (even Hercules himself was among the “refuseniks”). Those to whom Pythia agreed to give a prophecy had to wait up to three days for an answer.

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The stone temple of Apollo was built in the fifth century BC. It was badly damaged in an earthquake but was rebuilt. After surviving for 1,000 years the temple was destroyed by the Christians. Now only ruins have survived.

Coordinates: 38.48277800,22.50611100

In photo mode you can view the sights in Delphi by photo only.

Monastery of Blessed Luke

Monastery of Saint Luke (photo)

Among the provincial churches built in the 11th and 12th centuries, the Monastery of Blessed Luke is one of the most famous. The monastery welcomes travelers with peaceful silence and coolness, relaxing after a noisy city. From the platform, on which the monastery is situated, a magnificent panorama of the monastery and its surroundings opens up. Views of the monastery leave no one indifferent. The spiritual richness of the monastery of Blessed Luke is based on the personality and life story of its founder, Saint Luke, sometimes called “the younger” or “of Stiris”. He should not, however, be confused with the Evangelist Luke, who is buried in Thebes, not far from here. Architecturally the monastic buildings are among the most impressive and monumental examples of early monastic architecture. The monastery is world famous for its extraordinarily beautiful Byzantine mosaics.

Coordinates: 38.47993200,22.49279000

Parnassus National Park

Parnassus National Park (photo)

Parnassus National Park is located on the mountain of the same name in Delphi, Greece. Mount Parnassus should be well known to connoisseurs of the ancient Greek myths, where it is repeatedly mentioned. At the foot of the mountain is the Delphic Oracle, the oracle of the temple of Apollo.

The park gives tourists who come here the opportunity to enjoy the magnificent scenery, which provides alpine meadows and mountain cliffs almost the entire area is covered with woodland. And, of course, such an environment for animals – a paradise, so these places have long been inhabited by forest dwellers: foxes, griffins, squirrels, badgers.

One of the most famous places in the park is Kastal spring, dedicated to Apollo and his servants, the Muses. Legend has it that this spring gives inspiration to anyone who seeks it.

Parnassus is famous not only among lovers of Greek myths, art historians and connoisseurs of wildlife: in winter, skiers and snowboarders are increasingly coming here to have a great sporting vacation.

Coordinates: 38.47483700,22.54819600

The Archaeological Museum of Delphi

Archeological Museum in Delphi (photo)

The Delphi Archaeological Museum exhibit is the most extensive in Hellas. And it’s no wonder: in ancient times Delphi was an extremely rich and important city. Here was the sanctuary of Apollo, where the treasuries were built where gifts to the god Apollo from different cities-states were kept.

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The museum occupies a two-story building with a total area of 2,270 square meters, on which there are 14 exhibition halls. In these rooms there are single statues and sculptures made of such materials as marble, bronze, gold and ivory.

The most valuable exhibit is the perfectly preserved bronze statue of the Charioteer of Delphi. Experts believe it is a fragment of a large sculptural composition depicting a charioteer, a chariot and the horses in it. The date of manufacture is believed to be 478 – 474 BC, and depicts the winner of the Pythian games of 478 in the competition among the chariots. In addition to the Charioteer, the Delphic Museum is famous for the sculpture of the Three Dancing Girls. There are also statues of the god Apollo and the goddess Artemis made of ivory and gold and a lot of other exhibits extremely interesting to look at.

Coordinates: 38.48005000,22.49963500

Brickworks Museum

Tile and brick factory museum (photo)

The Tile and Brickworks Museum is one of the few remaining examples of an industrial complex in Greece. In 2004 the museum was joined to the network of thematic museums of the Cultural Foundation Technology. The purpose of this museum is to try to bring the history of the city to the forefront. The brick factory was founded in 1926 and has a total area of 22,000 square meters. It was used to produce a wide range of bricks and tiles. The factory closed in 1978.

In 2004, the Cultural Foundation decided to create masonry samples in the main structures of the factory. Two years later, crushers, compressors, cutters, silos, carts and kilns were restored. Now visitors to the museum have the opportunity to learn the profession of brickmaker and tiler, and they can also learn as much as possible about the process of brick making.

Coordinates : 39.36530700,22.93211700

The navel of the earth

The navel of the earth (photo)

The ancient city of Delphi was considered a cultural center during Antiquity and its descriptions in the legends and myths of ancient Greece have survived to this day. One of the legends says that Delphi is the center of the Earth, or the navel of the Earth. In order to perpetuate this fact, was established omphalos (stone cone-shaped), symbolizing the navel of the Earth.

And the legend is this: Zeus the Thunderer decided one day to determine where the center of the Earth is. He released two eagles, one from the west, one from the east. The birds flew around the earth and met at Delphi, thus determining its center. At the place where the eagles met, Zeus ordered the stone omphalos to be set up (another version says he threw it there himself), which is considered to be the Earth’s Navel.

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According to another legend, omphalos is the stone from the tomb of the sacred serpent (or dragon) of Delphi, Python, or, in other words, was the point of intersection of the world of the living with the world of the dead, that is, the very center of the universe. And it was Apollo who sent the terrible Python to the world of the dead, then he turned into a pack of dolphins and led the ship in distress to the Corinth Gulf. The sailors, in gratitude for the rescue, renamed the area Delphi. Another version of the name Delphi is the translation of the Indo-European word “delphis”, meaning “belly” or “womb”, i.e. the source of all life.

Coordinates: 38.48043600,22.49416400

Ancient Delphi

Ancient Delphi (photo)

Delphi is one of the most important religious centers of ancient Greece, 176 km from Athens. The Delphi archaeological complex and museum are located at the foot of the famous Mount Parnassus in the Sacred Valley. As early as the 17th century English and French explorers tried to find the location of ancient Delphi but without success. The city and the sanctuary disappeared under a layer of later deposits and no one knew where they were. Only in the 70s of the XIX century German and French archeologists began systematic excavations, which resulted in Delphi reappearing to the world.

In ancient times Delphi was considered the center of the world. According to the legend, two eagles of Zeus, launched from different parts of the world, met over the slopes of Mount Parnassus and at the same moment a conically shaped stone fell from the sky, which marked the center of the universe. This stone was called “omphalos” and became one of the symbols of the Delphic shrine.

The terraces on the southern slopes of the mountain, rising up to 2457 m, led the way to the Delphic shrine. The Delphic temple, situated in a natural stone amphitheater, was for centuries considered the most sacred place on earth.

The sanctuary of Apollo (Temenos) was in antiquity one of the most important cult centers of Greece, without the most respected oracle of antiquity, the famous Delphi oracle, no important decisions were made. The Delphic shrine was extremely rich. Every pilgrim brought something of great value as a gift to the god and the ambassadors of the polis-cities built splendid treasure houses and sculpted bronze or marble monuments there.

Coordinates: 38.48624800,22.48795500

The most popular attractions in Delphi with descriptions and photos for all tastes. Choose the best places to visit the famous places of Delphi on our website.

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