The Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi Greece.

As far as the tourist is concerned, Delphi Greece can be divided into a number of sections. The Sanctuary of Apollo is the largest, with access to the Stadium from the west of the site in the theatre area.

This plan shows the main areas of interest.

 

Agora

delphi agora

The Agora (market-place) has remains from the 6th - 4th C BC. This was the Greek agora, which was later developed by the Romans. Originally it was a large square with paved stones. Pilgrims to Delphi Greece were able to buy goods from the many shops in the agora.

The columns you see on the north side have been reconstructed, and are of the Ionic order from the Roman period. The remains of Christian monuments can also be seen.

Bull of Korkyra

This is the base which supported a bronze bull. It was donated by the people of Korkyra around 485 BC. The bull was the work of the sculptor Theopropos from the island of Aegina.

According to the traveller Pausanias, it was because of a bull that the people of Korkyra were able to catch vast quantities of tuna fish. It was traditional to donate a tenth of their profits to the gods, so they had two bulls made. One went to Delphi and the other to Olympia.

Arcadian monument

This oblong stone base supported nine bronze statues. Evidence in the foundataions indicate that these were an offering from the Arcadians to Pythian Apollo. The monument was erected in 369 BC, after the Arcadians had successfully invaded Lakedaemon.

Monument of the Argives

argos monument

Ten bronze statues were displayed here, representing the mythical kings of Argos. The statues were placed in the western part of the monument so they would be seen to their best advantage by pilgrims coming up the Sacred Way.

Sikyon Treasury

Sikyon is a town to the northwest of Corinth. Their treasury was built around 500 BC. It had two columns at the front in the Doric order.

Siphnos Treasury

The inhabitants of Siphnos, an island in the Cyclades, built this treasury around 525 BC. They were able to afford to do this because of the gold which they mined on the island.

This was an Ionic building, constructed in marble. It had a sculptured pediment supported by two carytids. A sculpted frieze was excavated which you can now see in the museum.

Thebes Treasury

You can see the tufa foundations of this treasury. Limestone was used for the main structure, and the gray finish would have seemed quite dull compared to the gleaming marble of some of the other treasuries.

Omphalos

delphi greece omphalos

According to legend, Zeus wanted to find the centre of the earth. So he sent out two eagles, and they met above Mount Parnassos where they identified the omphalos which indicated Delphi Greece as the centre of the earth.

The omphalos standing here was found in the area, and is claimed by some to be the one which stood in the sacred section of the temple.

Athenian Treasury

athenian treasury delphi greece

The Athenians considered themselves better than other Greeks, and their treasury at Delphi Greece reflected their high opinion of themselves.

The structure was made using Parian marble (one of the most sought after) in the Doric style. It was reconstructed in the early part of the 19th century. The metopes and pediments were decorated with sculptures, and you can see the originals in the museum.

Senate

These rather sparce remains mark the place where the senate building (bouleuterion) was situated. This is where the forty members of the local senate (or parliament) held their meetings. It is believed to date from the Archaic period, ie, before classical times.

Early oracle

This pile of rocks is where the early Delphic oracle was situated. The site has remained intact during the whole history of Delphi Greece. It was guarded by the snake Python. Behind the rocks was the sanctuary of the Earth goddess Ge, or Gaia.

Column from Naxos

Here you'll find the fallen drums of an Ionic marble column. It was a gift to Apollo from the inhabitants of Naxos in about 570 BC. A sphinx originally sat on the top of the column, and you can see it in the museum.

Ionic capital

ionic capital delphi greece

This is a very good example of an Ionic capital. The Ionic order is more slender than the Doric.

Stoa of the Athenians

stoa athenians

The stoa dates from about 480 BC. It originally contained naval trophies captured from the Persians.

The stoa consisted of seven monolithic ionic columns (three remain standing), which supported a wooden roof. The columns were made of Pentelic marble which stood on bases made of Parian marble. It is believed the style of this stoa influenced the design of many subsequent stoas during the Hellenistic period.

Tripod of Plataia

The circular pedestal you can see here was erected to commemorate the famous battle of Plataia. A tripod was placed on it, consisting of three bronze snakes which intertwined forming a column. Constantine the Great took the tripod to Constantinople.

Temple of Apollo

delphi apollo

The first temple here (6th C BC) was destroyed by an earthquake. The existing ruins date from the the 4th C BC.

The views from this 'platform' which contains the temple are magnificent. If you look south you see the columns with the Pleistos valley beyond, and to the northwest you can see the theatre.

There's more information on the Temple of Apollo Delphi page.

Pillar of Prusias

pillar prusias

This magnificent stone pillar was erected in honour of king Prusias of Bithynia in Asia Minor. A statue of Prusias on his horse stood on the top.

Votive offering of Polyzalos

A retaining wall (Iskegaon) runs along the uphill side of the temple. At the western end archaeologists found the site of a votive offering of Polyzalos. It was at this location that the famous Charioteer of Delphi was found, which you can see in the museum.

Votive offering of Krateros

krateros

You can see the dedication stone for this votive offering base on the back wall on the left. The monument was erected in about 315 BC by Krateros, who had saved the life of Alexander the Great in a lion hunt.

Theatre

delphi theatre

The original theatre was built in the 4th C BC, and was refurbished by the Romans two hundred years later. Its 35 rows of seats could accommodate 5,000 spectators. They used to watch the 'mysteries' - plays which re-enacted the battles between Apollo and the Python. The first rows were reserved for priests of Delphi Greece and important officials.

Delphi Stadium

delphi greece stadium

When you stand on the highest section of the theatre, you might think you've reached the end of this part of Delphi Greece. But take the path to the west, and you arrive in a vast stadium, which is one of the biggest surprises of the site.

The original stadium had earth terraces, but stone seating was added in the 3rd C BC. The terraces you see now were built in the 2nd C AD by Herod Atticus. To save you counting, the stadium can hold 6,500 people. You can still see the starting and finishing lines which are 178m apart (600 Roman feet).

 

Below is a video showing some of the sights of Delphi, with background information.

 

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