Thursday, November 11, 2021
The sunrise this morning!
Our day began with a 3 1/2 hour bus ride to get to Delphi. Along our route we stopped at a scenic overlook. We could see Arachova. It is a mountain town known as a base for ski excursions in the winter.
We also drove through Arachova which took a long time because of a traffic jam due to the town folks hanging up Christmas lights that were being strung across the road. The main road through town is two-way and narrow!
Since we were stopped or were moving slowly, we were able to see the homes, stores, restaurants and cafes along the main street in town! Here is a small collection of this quaint town.
Delphi is an UNESCO site and important to the ancient Greek mythology (8th Century BC). It was an ancient religious sanctuary to the Greek god Apollo. Delphi was considered to be the center of Grandmother earth, home to the Oracle of Delphi, and the Priestess Pythia who was famous in the ancient world for divining the future. People from all over the world would come seeking advice.
When we arrived in Delphi our first stop was a visit to the archaeological museum.
The twin Kouros Statues from 600-580 BC, are seven feet tall and represent athletes. They are the legendary twins of Argos. The brothers are known for pulling their mother and her cart because her oxen was missing. It was a 6 mile trek. These statues are funeral memorials because their mom prayed to the goddess Hera to place a gift on her twins due to their strength and devotion to her. Well, Hera’s gift was to have them fall asleep in the temple and never wake up.
The Omphalos of Delphi is made of marble. It is said that Zeus placed this monument where two eagles crossed paths after he launched them from two ends of the world. They crossed paths over Delphi and omphalos which means center and in Greek mythology called Delphi the “navel of the earth”.
The Charioteer of Delphi is one of the best known Greek statues. It stands 5 feet 11 inches and is made of bronze and from 470 BC. He is the driver of the chariot race and is presenting his chariot and his horses to the spectators because of his victory. The details are amazing.
The Sphinx was an offering from the Naxian people and was placed above a high iconic column. It was a symbol of earthly divinity and heavenly power. The statue was made of marble. It had the body and legs of a lion, chest and wings of a bird, and the head of a woman.
The Hymns to Apollo inscriptions were found on the south wall of Treasury of the Athenians. These two ancient hymns were composed for the Pythias of 128 BC which was a ritual procession of the Athenians towards Delphi. Between the lines of verses musical symbols were found.
Below are the remains of the Chryselephantine, which means a Greek sculpture overlaid with gold and ivory. The flesh was represented by ivory and the drapery by gold.
Some of the other objects in the museum.
The Athena temple complex:
The Treasury of Athenians housed dedications and offerings made by the people of Athens to the sanctuary of Apollo.
The Sanctuary of Apollo was a religious area dedicated to the Greek god Apollo.
The Temple of Apollo was first built around the 7th century BC. It has been rebuilt three times! The temple’s foundations remain along with a few Doric columns made of limestone which has caused decaying.
The Omphalos is a cone shaped monument to mark what the ancients believed was the center of the world. This is a replica along the Sacred Way, the road through Delphi.
The ancient theater of Delphi was located farther up the hill from the Temple of Apollo. Sitting in the theater provided spectacular views of the entire area. It was built out of limestone in the 4th century BC and was remodeled several times. It has 35 rows and can hold around 5,000 spectators. During ancient times they watched plays, poetry, readings and musical events that occurred during festivals that happened at Delphi.
A slideshow of more images from Delphi!
After leaving Delphi, we headed back to Arachova to enjoy a delicious late lunch at Omfalos. Of course for fun I’ve included another picture difference of a gluten free appetizer and what everyone else was served!
We arrived back at the hotel around 7:00 PM. We certainly are getting a refresher and learning more about Greek mythology.