A visit  to the Temple of Apollo and the Oracles of Delphi


A visit to the Temple of Apollo and the Oracles of Delphi

 

A visit  to the Oracles of Delphi – Travel Photo Mondays

 

I was invited on a day trip outside of Athens to visit the Temple of Apollo and the Oracles of Delphi with local tour group Key Tours. Delphi – called the navel or middle of ancient Greece is a two our drive Northwest from the capital city of Athens. It is a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the most important historical monuments in this region at Mount Parnassus. After quickly picking up the visitors from the various guests from their hotel, we head out of the city through the main  thoroughfares and business districts. We quickly exit and head to the highway which is congested fortunately on the opposite direction into town while we headed out of the city.  The guide points just the right amount of information and trivia about living in Athens, the major industry and economic factors that drive local business, the freeways and other minutiae that were interesting at the moment but I have forgotten since that timeframe.

 

 

Mountain areas of Delphi and Mount Parnasus

Mountain areas of Delphi and Mount Parnassus

 

 

She (our guide) pulls out a map to show us the direction we are headed to and the significance of the area around Delphi we are visiting which is tied to Greek Mythology and the god Apollo who settled to this area to be with his human love. It was through this god’s presence and good will to the local citizens in this region that inspired a temple being built for worshipping Apollo. This sacred sanctuary was also the site for the Panhellenic games which occurred every four years and was the pre-cursor to the modern-day Olympics. The site is also important to the famous prehistoric Oracles that were dedicated to Apollo and the Sybil or Priestess were visited for their famous prophecies from important dignitaries from the ancient world.

 

The scenic hilltop village of Aráchova on the slopes of Mt. Parnassus

The scenic hilltop village of Aráchova on the slopes of Mt. Parnassus

 

 

 

 

Looking uphill to Mt. Parnassus on a cloudy morning

Looking uphill to Mt. Parnassus on a cloudy morning

 

We start climbing up to the base of the mountain area called Mount Parnassus where the temple is located. It’s a very popular spot for skiing which is accessible to most Athenians that are coming in for a day of skiing in the nearby resorts. Climbing further uphill, we make a pit stop and then take a photo opportunities on a scenic hilltop village called Arachova, The village sprawls uphill, clinging to the steep terrain with spectacular views of the valley below and down to the coastal areas of the Peloponnese region. It’s a very clear day with blue skies so you can see for miles and miles.

 

 

The main entry to the Oracles of Delphi

The main entry to the Oracles of Delphi

 

Finally we start the approach to the Temple of Apollo and immediately see the first ruins of the archeological site and eventually, the entrance of the main temple grounds.  We assemble in the front while the guide gathers the tickets and gives us a cursory talk about the site and the significance of this place being the Oracles of Delphi. In ancient times, the Oracles were a very important center that Kings and important dignitaries would visit to receive forecasts or predictions of decisive actions that they should be taking from the priests who would predict important matters of state and economics to these ancient rulers and decision makers. We slowly head uphill to check out all the monuments going to the Oracles/temple of Apollo with the guide explaining the buildings created along each side, a treasure here and a significant monument there.

 

Current excavation work at the Oracles of Delphi

Current excavation work at the Oracles of Delphi

 

Above, we pass by some volunteers that are currently excavating an area along the entry that is being repaved  for easier access to the main temples.

 

 

A reconstructed treasury that housed thank you gifts to the Oracle at Delphi

A reconstructed treasury that housed thank you gifts to the Oracle at Delphi

 

Lining the uphill path to the Oracles of Delphi are many small treasuries like the one above that housed many gifts and treasures to the Oracles as a thank you for their prophesies. Many of these treasures are now located in the Delphi museum located close to the historical site.

 

 

Entering the base of the Oracles of Delphi

Entering the base of the Oracles of Delphi

 

It’s all fascinating how each structure relates to the main temple just above the small uphill road and before you know it, you are facing the remains of the Oracles of Delphi also known as the Temple of Apollo. All that now remains of this iconic structure are the solid foundations along with the six facade columns that line the front and ocean side area of the temple.  The guide details more about the process of priests meeting with each dignitary and how the predictions or Oracles were created to help the decision maker come with some answer to a dilemma that wanted the Oracle to answer.

 

Looking below to the Oracles of Delphi and the temple of Apollo

Looking below to the Oracles of Delphi and the temple of Apollo

A higher view above looking down at the temple of Apollo and the valley

 

Looking down at the Oracles of Delphi and the temple of Apollo

Looking down at the Oracles of Delphi and the temple of Apollo

 

Due to some landslides, the area above by the theater was closed off for viewing, but I was able to get close enough to take a photograph looking uphill into the stadium instead of from above where most of the iconic images of the theater and grounds look like, but this still gives a good look at the stadium.

 

 

Delphi theater above the temple of Apollo

Delphi theater above the temple of Apollo

 

 

The area is still rich with undiscovered archeological sites and artifacts line the ruins and are numbered but left intact for future generations to contemplate completing or just leaving it as-is.

 

Artifacts and pieces of sculpture line the walkways around the Oracles of Delphi

Artifacts and pieces of sculpture line the walkways around the Oracles of Delphi

 

Delphi archeological museum

Just outside the temple grounds is the modern archeological museum housing all the wonderful discovered treasures from the ruins. We visit all the rooms and the guide gives us a complete overview to the artifacts and amazing treasures that were discovered from the ruins.

 

The modern Archeological museum at Delphi

The modern Archeological museum at Delphi

 

The collections are impressive and it is amazing how well many of the artifacts and treasures are. The remodeled museum is light and airy and showcases all the historical artifacts in very well laid out rooms and grouped discoveries.

 

Treasures of the Delphi Archeological museum

Treasures of the Delphi Archeological museum

 Golden treasures of Delphi

 

Golden adornments from the historical site at Delphi

Golden adornments from the historical site at Delphi

 

The collections at the archeological museum at Delphi are impressive and worth spending more time to explore and understand all the important finds and association to the Oracle at Delphi. We only had a quick visit as most tours do with this day excursion and we continued to the village of Delphi with a nice lunch in a beautiful restaurant with views of the valley area.

 

Delphi frieze on the capitol of the Oracle of Delphi

Delphi frieze on the capitol of the Oracle of Delphi

 

Summary

This organized tour by Key Tours is well balanced, with enough time to visit many sites along the way including fantastic guided walks through the historical site and the archeological museum. Lunch in the village of Delphi was also a nice way to finish the afternoon visit along with a short stop for photo opportunities and shopping in the hilltop village of Arachova. This is a fantastic day tour especially if your timeframe is very short in visiting Greece, I would recommend this trip with Key Tours and their day tour. If you want more details about the tour, you can visit their website here.

Thank you for joining us on this visit  to the Oracles of Delphi for Travel Photo Mondays, please do check out the other bloggers below participating for todays link up.

 

Thank you Key tours for inviting me on this discovery tour of the Oracles of Delphi, all thoughts and opinions are my own and I think this was an excellent day trip discovery tour.

 

 

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