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Delphi - Where Priestesses Foretold At The Oracle
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.
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.
Books About Delphi
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.