top of page
History of Delphi
With evocative ruins surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery, Delphi is surely the most beautiful ancient site in Greece.


For the ancient Greeks, Delphi was quite literally the center of the world: Zeus released two eagles from opposite ends of the earth and they met in the sky above Delphi. Impaling one another with their beaks, they fell to the ground on the very center of the world. The site was marked by the sacred Omphalos, or "navel stone."


The word origin and history for Del-phi  is explained as follows: The name of this famed oracle town on slopes of Mount Parnassus, is reputed to be derived from Greek delphis "dolphin" (see dolphin ). Supposedly Apollo assumed this form to found the shrine.Later, Apollo killed the serpent Python (son of Mother Earth), guardian of Delphi's sacred Castalian Spring. The sun god then established an oracle at the spring, promising to provide counsel to all who needed it, through the cryptic divinations of his high priestess, Pythia.


Located at the navel of the world and personally blessed by Apollo, Delphi was the holiest site in the world for the ancient Greeks. The ruins of Ancient Delphi range in date from Mycenean times to the early Christian era and are one of the must-sees in Greece.


Upon entering the site of Delphi you will see places where all the statues and monuments from different parts of Greece and beyond were sent as gifts and treasures to the gods. The most important of the treasures was that of Sifnioi and now lies at the Delphi Museum. One of the best preserved stadiums of ancient times is found at the site, where the Pythian games used to take place every four years. The sacred temple of the gods containing the Doric temple of Apollo from the 4the century BC. There are ruins below the main road of the site as well, such as the high school and the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia.


A stairway leads up to the theatre of Delphi, which was constructed in the fourth century BC and acquired its final form in the Roman period. The cavea, with 35 roes of seats, could accomodate an audience of 5,000. A steep pathway leads up to the stadium, the stone seats of which had the capacity of 7,000 spectators, while the length of the track was 178.35 metres. The stadium is dated to the fifth century BC and it was here that the panhellenic Pythian Games were held.


There is a plentiful number of good hotels and restaurants in the pretty modern town of Delphi, for which the population is around a thousand people and it is visited approximately by two million tourists per year.


The site is a scenic 2.5-hour drive or a local bus ride service, northwest from Athens.



bottom of page