Positioned in the foothills of Mount Parnassos, historic Delphi was traditionally believed to be the geographical centre of the world – the meeting point of two eagles dispatched by Zeus. For many centuries it was also the religious and spiritual centre of the ancient Greek world and the Delphic oracle was consulted by visitors from across a wide region.
|Theatre and temple set high on the hillside|
|Who doesn't love a 3D model?|
Today visitors of all nationalities form an orderly line behind the rope cordons and obey the rules signposted everywhere – don’t touch this, don’t climb on that, no smoking, don’t remove any artifacts, no flash photography. Hot and bored guards are ready to crack down on any misbehaviour.
Having spent the last 6 weeks in Turkey where you can roam freely over almost all ancient sites it comes as a bit of a shock to have to keep behind a rope cordon. The theatre feels empty and cold without people sitting in the seats and testing the acoustics from all the different levels. The agora and gymnasium need exploring, the temple is a place to stand on and admire close up the huge columns reaching into the sky. Walls with interesting rock shapes scream out to be touched and tombs just have to be peered into. We arrived at 8am and had a lovely morning there but it did feel quite clinical after our rough and ready rambles over Turkish sites.
|Treasuries - small temple shaped buildings built by Greek city states as a thank you for the oracles advice|
|Well preserved polygonal retaining walls of the Temple of Apollo|
|Stadium - 6500 spectators, 177m long, 25.5m wide - now at danger from rockfalls|
|The beautiful Tholos which originally had 20 columns|
It is a spectacular setting, built on terraces overlooking a vast unspoilt gorge. At €9 for the combined ticket for the site and museum it was well over our ‘attraction budget’ but we couldn’t drive by and not see it. Excavated first in 1893 by the French Archaeological School many precious artifacts unearthed at the site are beautifully displayed in the museum.
|Demigod Antinoos who died before adulthood from drowning in the Nile|
|No photographic posing allowed - so sneaky (and cheeky) walk by rear shot will have to do!|
|Lovely lion freize|
|Bronze Charioteer of Delphi|
|When in Rome...?|