Delphi The Navel Of The World

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The God Zeus wanting to identify the center of the world, released two eagles, one from the East the other from the West.  At the spot where their paths crossed he threw the Sacred Stone thus marking the navel of the world.  Legend has it the original stone landed here in the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia.  The famous Delphic Oracle Pythia took up residence in the city,  protected by her child the serpent Python.  A young Apollo slew Python and eventually Pythia became his intermediary.  Her prophecies were deemed to be the word of The God Apollo.

The Tholos of Athena circa 380 B.C.

One of the most photographed  antiquities in the whole world.  There have been temples dedicated to female deities on this site since Mycenaean times

A masterpiece of ancient architecture.  Originally it had 20 Doric columns on the outside and 10 Corinthian semi-columns inside.  One of very few round buildings in ancient Greece.  It's purpose remains a mystery

The Theatre, overlooking the third and final Temple of Apollo.  Built to seat 5000 people at the Delphic Festivals held every four years.  Organized by a group of Sacred Scribes,  the Sacred Drama depicted the battle between Apollo and Python.  Music competitions and poetry were also part of  the programme

Detail of restored Tholos columns with entablature, sculptured frieze and ornamental gutters.

The Sanctuaries of Athena and Apollo stand half a mile apart on the most stunning and awe inspiring of sites.  Mt. Parnassus towers above.  Opposite is Mt. Kirphys.  Below the cypress and olive clad valley of the river Pleistos and the plain of Itea.  The Gulf of Corinth glints in the distance.

Citizens came here from all over Greece.  Payment of a tax entitled them to make animal sacrifices to the God Apollo and consult the Oracle. She spoke in riddles, translated into poetry then interpreted by priests.  The  great wealth accumulated  led to a succession of wars.  With the arrival of the Romans and Christianity, Delphi went into a decline, eventually losing  it's position as the center of world

The Sanctuary of Apollo 

This wall is part of the market area immediately to the north of the Stoa of the Roman Agora.   It is situated on the Sacred Way a paved road  which brought pilgrims up to the Temple of Apollo

Marble head of Antinoos.  Favourite of Hadrian 11 and renowned for his beauty.   He met a sad and untimely end but fortunately not before his beauty was captured for posterity.

On a slope at the highest point of the ancient city is the Stadium.  A U shaped 178m track with starting blocks at the Eastern end.  The 12 tier seating for 7000 people  was a gift from the Roman Herodes Atticus some 7 centuries after the original Stadium was built.

The Pythian Games were held every 4 years in honour of Apollo's victory over Python

Starting blocks, also added in Roman times

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