Exploring The Ruins Of Delphi | Tea & Post

Monday, 5 January 2015

Exploring The Ruins Of Delphi

If you mentioned Greece to me before last year, my mind would have immediately conjured up images of cobbled lanes lined by pure white buildings and beautiful beaches being kissed by a sapphire blue sea.  My only experiences with this culturally rich country had been several summer holidays spent on the islands with my family.

It was a fleeting visit to Athens last spring that sparked my interest in learning more about the history and culture of Greece. When I finally returned in October I made it my mission to see as much as I possibly could whilst there. I figured I could explore the city of Athens by myself thanks to their amazing transport system, so when it came to looking at tours I opted to head further afield. One of these tours took me to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Delphi, a small town and archaeological site that is just a two hour drive from Athens. I spent the coach journey excitedly peering out of the window, watching as the scenery changed from that of a bustling city to winding roads that loop round looming, verdant mountains.

A short distance from Delphi, the coach stopped on the side of the road. Initially I was confused but our guide quickly pointed out another set of remains, those of The Sanctuary of Athena. Originally built in the 7th Century BC, there is little left but foundations of what was once a great temple dedicated to worshipping the goddess of wisdom, fertility and health. We were given the opportunity to climb down the steep hill and view the site up close, which I unfortunately had to pass up. Earlier that morning I'd stupidly thrown on a pair of sandals and as I don't possess the agility of a mountain goat I was left standing at the top, gazing down on what's left of the temple. 

Once we'd finished viewing the Sanctuary of Athena we continued on our journey to our final destination, the ancient ruins of Delphi. To the Ancient Greeks this was the holiest place in the world, believed to be both the center of the earth and blessed by Apollo, the god of light and sun. The myth tells of Zeus sending two eagles to fly from opposite ends of the world in the hope that they would meet in the middle and discover the center. It is said that they eventually crossed paths over Delphi and it was marked as the navel of the earth by an Omphalos (religious stone). 

As always with old remains I found myself taken aback by the thought that thousands and thousands of years ago, there were people walking this very path and looking at these very stones. Delphi was frequented by pilgrims who would travel from far and wide to visit this sacred place and seek the counsel of the Oracle. A priestess known as Pythia (named for the python that Apollo slayed to protect Delphi) who acted as a medium for Apollo.

After we had been led round the site by our guide and had time to wander ourselves, we ended up heading into the museum there. It was filled with some pretty amazing artefacts that had been found at both the Delphi site and from the Sanctuary of Athena. Some of the best pieces I saw were a round altar, the Argos twins statues and this plate. I was also really pleased to see that they had a model of the town as it once stood, it was great being able to see what all the ruins once looked like.

Thanks to Key Tours and TBEX for a wonderful, complimentary experience. 



  1. I love Delphi... although its probably been about 11 years since I went! Great pictures!




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