Day 20: Delphi

Plan for the day

We planned to drive from Lamia to Delphi which would take about an hour. At Delphi we would explore Ancient Delphi archaeological site and Museum. Ancient Delphi was our last “must see” sight in Greece.

After Delphi we would drive to Athens. We would not be going into Athens center as we had already visited Athens at the beginning of our trip. We had booked our room at a hotel on the outskirt of Athens. It would be our last night in Greece and tomorrow we would be on our way home.

Route for the day

Route for the day

Ancient Delphi Archaeological Site

We drove 92 km from Lamia to Delphi and the journey took about one hour and 10 minutes. We arrived at ancient Delphi by about 10am which left us plenty of time to explore. The ancient city was spread out on the slope of Mt Parnasso.

Ancient Delphi was the center of worship for the God Apollo, son of Zeus. Before Apollo there were other deities worshipped at Ancient Delphi including goddess Gea, Themis, Demeter and Poseidon but by the end of the Mycenaean period Apollo displaced the other dieties and became the oracle.

Layout of Ancient Delphi

Layout of Ancient Delphi

Athena Pronea & Tholos

At the downhill of the archaeological site was the sanctuary of Athena Pronea and Tholos. This was where people coming to ask for an oracle would have to first offer a sacrifice. The site was full of fallen pieces neatly placed. Tholos was the only structure that still stood recognisable. It was a circular structure which was supposed to have 20 Doric columns on its exterior diameter.

Only three columns with their entablature remained standing, these were re-erected in 1938.

Athena Pronea

Athena Pronea

 

Tholos

Tholos

Ancient Gymnasium

The ruins of the Ancient Gymnasium was found just uphill of Sanctuary of Athena Pronea. What was left of a large, long, two levels block of building that was the gymnasium, the palaestra and the baths was just a long empty stretch of land with a stonewall against the side of the hill on one side and a long stretch of stone blocks at interval on the other side.

Ancient Gymnasium

Ancient Gymnasium

It would be very difficult to appreciate and enjoy this site if we did not make an effort to read up on the history on this site, Without details the ancient gymnasium looked just like a barren stretch of land. It was a good thing that we had 24/7 internet access which allowed us to call up information as and when needed.

 

Sanctuary of Apollo

At the center of Ancient Delphi was the sanctuary of Apollo. It was on the southern tip of the mountain slope above the ancient gymnasium. This sanctuary was captured by Roman in 191 BC and was stripped of its treasures in 86BC by General Sylla to finance his siege of Athens.

Sanctuary of Apollo

Sanctuary of Apollo

The path uphill brought us past the Stoa of Athenians and  Athenian Treasury. All that was left of the Stoa was some columns, some bricks walls at the side of the hill.

Stoa of the Athenian (top) and Treasury of Athenians (bottom)

Stoa of the Athenian (top) and Treasury of Athenians (bottom)

The Stoa was an ancient building used for storing the war spoils mainly from naval victories against the Persians. The Treasury was a small structure. It was used to store and protect the valuables such as silver and gold offerings brought by Athenians.

Next we reached the Temple of Apollo. From the foundation and the six huge columns that were left standing it was obvious that this temple was a huge complex.

Sanctuary of Apollo

Sanctuary of Apollo

Walking further uphill from the Temple of Apollo we came to the based on an ancient theaterThe theatre was built into the incline slope of the mountain. There were 25 rows of stone seats, a round stage and a orchestra. The orchestra completed the circle and was on the opposite to the 25 rows spectator seats.

Ancient Theatre that could sit 5000

Ancient Theatre that could sit 5000

To test out the theory that Greek theaters were designed to have excellent acoustics, I stood at the center of the stage while my hubby, YT stood at the top row of the spectator seats. I called out not too loudly and he could hear me clearly!

The last of the ruins was an ancient stadium way up the hill. This stadium was built in the 5th BC. Its stone seats could sit around 6500 spectators. Compared to the ancient Stadium of Olympia Archaeological site that we had seen, this stadium was much more well preserved.

Ancient Stadium of Delphi

Ancient Stadium of Delphi

Delphi Museum

We visited the archaeological Museum of Delphi to see the artifacts that was unearthed during the excavation at the Delphi oracle and its vicinity.

Exhibits in the Ancient Delphi Museum

Exhibits in the Ancient Delphi Museum

A visit to Delphi archaeological site had to be complemented by a visit to the museum. At the archaeological site we could only see the ruins which gave us a sense of its size, its dimensions, its volume and in a way we could feel the mass of the society that either lived here or visited here.

It was only at the museum that one could experience the personal natures of these people, their talents, their grace, their intellect etc.

Exhibits in the Ancient Delphi Museum

Exhibits in the Ancient Delphi Museum

From Delphi we drove for about two hours to reach Hotel Giorgio. We checked in quickly and left our luggage before heading out for dinner.

We had selected Hotel Giorgio because it had good reviews and it was on the outskirt of Athens. Since we were not visiting Athens it did not make sense to pay more to stay in Athens central. Besides it would be easy to get from Hotel Giorgio to the airport as they were about 25 minutes drive apart.

At Hotel Giorgio I had booked two double rooms at €40 each room per night. The hotel charges covered free parking, wifi and breakfast. This was the second time we were staying at Hotel Giorgio, our earlier experience with this hotel was good so we did not mind coming back to it again when we were back in Athens.

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