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Delphi Archaeological Site

From Mycenaean Period, it was called Pytho by Homer

Delphi Archaeological Site was one of the most sacred places of the ancient world. It is an enchanting site, situated in the breathtaking surroundings of Mt. Parnassus, where Pan and the Nymphs lived. The Ancient Greeks believed that Delphi Archaeological Site was the “Center of the World”.

Although the Delphi Archaeological Site had been dedicated to many deities, Apollo is the most connected God  to the place. According to Mythology, Apollo killed the Guard of the Site, the Monster Python.

After that, the Pythean Games were held every 8 years to commemorate the event. Later, they were held every four years and were mainly musical competitions. The winner was crowned with a wreath of Laurel, the special tree of the God Apollo.

Delphi Archaeological Site, defined as the center of the World by Zeus. According to the Myth, he let his two eagles fly around the earth and the point where they met would be the center of everything. As a result, a stone was put at the point called Omphalos (Navel), which still be seen in the Museum of Delphi.

The Museum in Delphi Archaeological Site, one of the most important museums in Greece, exhibits the history of the Delphic sanctuary. Its rich collections are primarily sculptures and minor objects donated to the sanctuary. These reflect its religious, political and artistic activities. Two of the most famous artifacts are:

• Kouros Statues of the Archaic Period, known as Kleovis and Biton.
• Large Sphinx of Naxos sitting on an Ionic column about 10m tall.

  • The Temple of Apollo at Delphi Archaeological Site
  • Visit Theatre at Delphi Archaeological Site with Our Full Day Tour
  • Delphi Archaeological Site

According to the myth, Zeus got sick and tired of humanity and started the universal flooding. There was a man, Deucalion, who was warned and built an ark. The flood drowned the earth, but Deucalion and his wife were safe. Finally, when the water started sinking, they landed on the top of Mt. Parnassos.

After all, Deucalion went to the oracle to ask what’s next. The oracle told him to throw the earths bones behind him. Pretending to be bones, he took some stones and threw them over his shoulder. The new humans race grew out of them. Deucalion had a son called Hellen, whose descendants would be the firsts Greek tribes.

Heracles also come to Delphi to steal the tripod of Pythia. Although he failed, a Temple was built on his honour.

Finally, the God Dionysus also left his mark here. He use to ruled here when Apollo went away.

Delphi was organized and controlled by the 12 City-States, which formed the Amphictyonic League. They rebuilt the place numerous times: in 528 BC, after a terrible fire; and in 373 BC after an earthquake.

Treasuries of Athena
It was built to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Marathon, and it is decorated with large number of votive statues. The Greek City-States called it “Treasuries” because it hold the offerings made to God Apollo at the Delphi Archaeological Site. Among Treasuries we can find the Siphnian Treasury, dedicated by the City of Siphnos; the Sikyonians, the Boetians and the Thebans.

Through the protection of the Amphictyonic League, Delphi Archaeological Site came to function then as the de-facto Central Bank of Ancient Greece.

Altar of the Chians
In front of the Temple of Apollo, the main altar of the sanctuary. It is dated to the 5th century BC by and made entirely of black marble, except for the base and cornice.

Stoa of the Athenians
The stoa, built in the Ionic order, leads off north-east from the main sanctuary. It consists of seven fluted columns carved from single pieces of stone. The inscription on the stylobate indicates that it was built by the Athenians after their naval victory over the Persians.

Athletic statues
Delphi Archaeological Site is famous for its many preserved athletic statues. It is known that Olympia originally housed far more of these statues, but they got ruined through time. This left Delphi as the main site of athletic statues.

Kleobis & Biton, two brothers renowned for their strength, are modeled in two of the earliest athletic statues.

The Charioteer of Delphi is another Ancient Relic, one of the best known statues from antiquity. The Charioteer has lost many features, including his chariot and his left arm, but he stands as a tribute to athletic art of antiquity.

Polygonal wall
The retaining wall was built to support the terrace housing, the construction of the second Temple of Apollo in 548 BC. Its name is taken from the polygonal masonry of which it is constructed.

Gymnasium
The gymnasium, which is half a mile away from the main sanctuary, was a series of buildings used by the youth of Delphi. It consisted of two levels: a yard on the upper level providing open space, and another room with pool and baths. These pools and baths were said to have magical powers and imparted the ability to communicate to God Apollo.

Hippodrome
The Hippodrome of Delphi Archaeological Site was the location for running events during the Pythian Games.

Stadium
The stadium, located further up the hill passing the via sacra, was originally built in the 5th century BC. It could seat 6500 spectators.

Theater
The Ancient Theater at Delphi Archaeological Site was built further up the hill from the Temple of Apollo. Its location provided a view of the entire sanctuary and the valley. Originally built in the 4th century BC.

Tholos
The Tholos at the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia is a circular building constructed around 360 BC. It consist of 20 Doric columns spread in a diameter of 14.76 meters and 10 Corinthian columns in the interior. It’s located approximately half a mile from the main ruins of Delphi Archaeological Site.

Sibyl Rock
The Sibyl Rock is claimed to be where the Sibyl sat to deliver her prophecies. It is linked with the sacred way that leads up to the Temple of Apollo in Delphi Archaeological Site.

Excavations
The site had been occupied by the village of Kastri since medieval times. Before the excavation of the site, the village had to be relocated but the residents resisted. Finally, the village was damaged by an earthquake and it was moved to a new place.

The Oracle of Delphi
At first, the Oracle of Delphi could only be consulted once a year. However, as its reputation grew, more days were added. The pilgrim could ask his question to Pythia after a purification ritual and paying a certain tax. Tradition holds that fumes were coming out of a crack in the ground. After Pythia had spoken, the priests interpreted her words to the pilgrim. This gave to the priests great political power.

What Other People Say…

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Average rating:  
 17 reviews
by Peter Arthur on Tours Visiting Delphi
Tour / Cruise Name: 2 Day tour Delphi and Meteora

Definitely the best archaeological site in Greece. It is a must!

by Cobaj/ Montenegro on Tours Visiting Delphi
Delphi is just incredible
Tour / Cruise Name: 1 Day Tour to Delphi Archaeological Site, Museum and visit of Arachova Village

I am not usually impressed much by ruins. I understand that it was quite difficult to build them 3000 or so years ago but i somehow cannot conceive the whole picture. Delphi was not like that. I felt very taken by the whole site and I could really understand the importance of its presence.

by Miragaya Eduardo/ Spain on Tours Visiting Delphi
Nice countryside
Tour / Cruise Name: 1 Day Tour to Delphi Archaeological Site, Museum and visit of Arachova Village

We really enjoyed the countryside around Delphi the Arachova Village is also very nice and quite different from what we are used to.

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Famous For

  • Center of the World in Ancient Greece

  • The reconstructed Treasury of Athens

  • Stoa of the Athenians

  • Polygonal wall

  • The Ancient Theater at Delphi

  • Sibyl rock

  • The Oracle of Delphi

What to Visit

  • Apollo Sanctuary

  • Castalia Spring

  • Archeological Museum of Delphi

  • Bronze Charioteer

How to Visit

Location Of the Ancient Delphi