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Delphi - Where Priestesses Foretold At The Oracle

Updated on January 27, 2017

Delphi - A Great Place To VIsit

One of my favourite places ever, is the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, which is where the oracle was situated. It was established sometime between the 11th and 9th centuries B.C.

In the 8th century B.C. Delphi became famous all over the then known world for the Pythia. The Pythia was a priestess of Apollo, who would sit on a tripod over a gas-emitting vent, and answer questions with very ambivalent remarks. No important decisions were made by the rulers of the time, without asking the Pythia what to do.

Of course, there is much more to the story of Delphi than that, but I do like this part of it.

Unless otherwise indicated, all images are my own, and all rights reserved, thanks.

View from Delphi.
View from Delphi. | Source

This Time I Made It To Delphi!

Years ago, I was on a boat cruise around the Mediterranean, and took a bus trip to Delphi. We toured around the museum, which was fascinating - I really loved the statue of the charioteer, but what I really wanted to see was the Temple of Apollo, where the Pythia responded to questions.

On this trip, I didn't make it. It was pouring with rain, and I decided not to walk up the side of Mt. Parnassus to the oracle site, because I didn't even have a jumper with me. I've always regretted not making that walk, and have wanted to go back to Delphi to see what I'd missed.

Now I've been back to Delphi, and would like to share some of my photos with you. The picture is of the charioteer, a young man, most likely a slave, who has just won the chariot race. It is one of the most famous statues in the world. I'm fascinated by the fact that the sculptor even gave the young man eyelashes! Although I'm not really into art, I do love this statue.

There are many other statues and relics in the Museum at Delphi, which is well worth a visit.

The Charioteer
The Charioteer | Source
Eagle. | Source

The Eagle Legend

There is a Greek myth that the God, Zeus, wanted to find the centre of the world. He released two eagles from the opposite ends of the earth, and they met at Delphi. The word "omphalos" means navel, and a big, egg-shaped stone called the omphalos was erected at the spot by Zeus, to mark the earth's centre.

The first time I visited Delphi, many years ago, I was lucky enough to see an eagle flying around the peak of Mt. Parnassus, but on the second trip, there wasn't an eagle to be seen. I do hope they still exist there.

The eagle photo was taken at Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Temple Of Apollo

Temple of Apollo.
Temple of Apollo. | Source

The columns are mostly gone now, but a few are still standing. It is thought that the Priestess, or Pythia, sat over a vent at the end of the temple closest to the front of the picture.

It would have been great to have been able to sit on the spot and see if you could pick up any echoes of the past, but it's all roped off to preserve the site.

Another view of the Temple of Apollo.
Another view of the Temple of Apollo. | Source

Mt Parnassus

Mt Parnassus is the mountain on the side of which Delphi stands. According to legend, it is named after Parnassus, the leader of a nearby city. This city was flooded by torrential rain, and the citizens fled, following the howling of wolves. The refugees build another town which they called Lykoreia. This means 'the howling of the wolves" in Greek.

The mountain is sacred to the God Apollo, and also to the God Dionysus. Parnassus is also said to be the home of the winged horse, Pegasus. Today, Mt. Parnassus hosts two ski resorts, as well as the museum and the archeological site.

I love this place, even though I've only visited for a short time. It reaches out to something in me - who knows why?

More Delphi Ruins

Temple of Apollo from below.
Temple of Apollo from below. | Source

I'm not sure what this is, but it's probably a view of the Temple of Apollo from another angle. Should have taken notes, instead of relying on memory.

It's pretty awe-inspiring that as much as this is still standing, given the time it was built, and the fact that Greece suffers from frequent earthquakes.

Arachova, near Delphi.
Arachova, near Delphi. | Source


Near to Delphi is the small village of Arachova, which is a must for a shopping stop, especially if you want sheepskin or lambswool products. Of course, the tour buses all stop there, and it's an old village with very narrow streets, so parking is not easy.

We had lunch at a large restaurant just outside of town, which was quite pleasant. The lunch was included in our tour cost, and was made up of local dishes, which was great. It's good to eat the local cuisine when visiting a country.

This was my second trip to Arachova, and this time I managed to buy something I've wanted for a long time - a lambskin vest. It's lovely and warm, and just the thing for cold winter weather.

Athenian Treasury at Delphi

Athenian Treasury Ruin.
Athenian Treasury Ruin. | Source

This is the Athenian Treasury building at Delphi, constructed by Athens for the treasures given by the city and its people to the God Apollo. It is build of marble, and dates from approximately 500 BC.

Each city-state had its own treasury at Delphi, and many gifts were sent there. Of course, most treasuries have been looted and destroyed, and the Athenian is the best preserved remaining building.

More Delphi Ruins

Possibly a shrine
Possibly a shrine | Source

Not sure what this is, so if you can identify it, please let me know! It was a beautiful spot. It may be one of the other treasuries built by various cities.

Enjoying The Ambience

Enjoying Delphi.
Enjoying Delphi. | Source

This is me, wandering around the Delphic Oracle site, and enjoying every second of it! I spent ages just being in a sort of space of my own, walking around or just sitting and soaking in the atmosphere. The building behind me is the Athenian Treasury.

Readers Comments About Delphi - Have You Been To Delphi?

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    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 6 weeks ago from Victoria, Australia

      Yes, they did that, and some of the answers were pretty obtuse!

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 6 weeks ago from Ohio

      Delphi sounds and looks like a beautiful place to visit. I read a story that the priestess sitting by the vent would inhale some gas that caused the visions the answers were based on.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      Wonderful memories. I was there over 30 years ago.

    • profile image

      othellos 4 years ago

      Very nice lens. I have been to Delphi long time ago and the feeling is unbelievable. Your report and pictures are just excellent. Maybe is time to visit again...

    • iwrite100 profile image

      Maribel Forayo 4 years ago from Philippines

      I'd love to visit this place. I like historical places that dates back thousand of years ago. I get the felling of getting connected to generation that may be unknown to us (known only through literature).

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @StrongMay: The first time I went, I didn't manage to see the ruins, just the museum, so always wanted to go back and complete the visit. It was well worth it! Thanks for visiting.

    • profile image

      StrongMay 5 years ago

      I have been to Delphi twice - and I love it. I have been fascinated with Delphi since I first learned about the place as a little kid, through a kid archaeology magazine.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @sheilamarie78: It was great, and I'd love to go there again, as there's so much to see! Thanks for visiting.

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      sheilamarie78 5 years ago

      I've never been there. Your visit sounds wonderful.

    • profile image

      entertainmentev 5 years ago

      I would love to visit Delphi someday! It looks like such a beautiful place with a great story.

    • profile image

      baseballchris46 5 years ago

      Hey I enjoyed the lens. You must have worked hard. 1 tip I could suggest would be to change the module names of the amazon and guestbook to more unique ones but overall great job :)

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 5 years ago

      Never heard about it but it is always satisfying to know more about the world specially places like Delphi. Thanks for sharing.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @takkhisa: You'll enjoy it! It's a beautiful place, and the Museum has some great pieces.

    • BodyLanguageExp profile image

      BodyLanguageExp 5 years ago

      I haven't been but it's on my list of places to visit! Thank you for the introduction.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 5 years ago

      No i have not been to Delphi but i want to visit it someday.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @BodyLanguageExp: You'll love it! Thanks for visiting.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @SteveKaye: Thanks for visiting, and for your blessing. Delphi is beautiful.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      Thank you for this most impressive tour. I enjoyed the photos.