Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Ancient Delphi

The countryside from Olympia to Delphi through the mountains is gorgeous. Terracotta roofed houses surrounded by olive trees and Mediterranean Cypress aka Pencil Pines. The cypress grow on slopes and in valleys that have rocky and usually limestone soils in areas with hot dry summers and winter rain. Unlike the ones in Italy, these have a fair bit of the trunk showing like a normal tree, whereas in Italy the “leaves” go fairly close to the ground. The grey of the olive and the dark green of the cypress make a great contrast, but there isn't anywhere to stop to take a photo. Many of the roads outside the city have very wide shoulders and slow movers will drive partially in this lane to let you partially share the other lane to pass them regardless if there are double lines or traffic coming the other way.

Freeway signs in Greek and English-Greek, check out the word for exit.
The highway signs to minor towns are now only in Greek, in the Greek Alphabet, as well as some of the highway signs, so I hope they aren’t saying anything important as we have absolutely no idea what they mean.

Delphi Δελφοί

Temple of Apollo

Delphi is a UNESCO world heritage site due to the influence it had on the ancient classical world.

Athenian Treasury

The ruins in Delphi are in two places, not far from each other. The town isn't very big and you can tell that the tourist season is getting to the end as there aren't that many people around. Down at the archeological site, there are a few but not that many. It is only about a kilometre down the road but as there is a fair bit of walking around to do on a steep hill, we drove. There isn't a lot of parking down there but at this time of year, it wasn't a problem.

The Ancient Theatre
A play was put on here in 1930, back then the back of the stage was still standing. I hope everyone brought cushions to sit on.

Stadium used for the Pythian Games
The first one has the usual temples and is much more interesting than the lower site. It also has an amphitheatre and running track for the games that were held here every four years.

The Tholos

The second area has the Tholos at the sanctuary of Athena Pronoia. Three of the columns have been restored which make up the most photographed monument of Delphi.

The lower section overview
The museum has many of the same things that they found in Olympia pottery, helmets, leg shields, rifles.

Two brothers renowned for their strength
The facade of one of the temples

During the 1500's a town was built over the ancient site and people used the marble columns as part of the structures for their houses. It stayed that way until the late 1800's. The residents refused to move and it wasn't until an earthquake occurred which crumbled their houses that they agreed to be moved to a new location as they were promised a new town. Only then could the site be excavated.

It's just amazing that any of these remain and how many must have been taken.

The bronze Charioteer is one of the best known statues, though his chariot seems to be missing along with his left arm

Related Posts:

1. Athens - Greece - The First Democracy
2. Olympia - - Let the Games Begin
3. Delphi - you are here now
4. Meteora - The Stone Forest
5. Mykonos - Those famous Windmills
6. Santorini - The Belle of the Islands

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