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At the foot of Mount Parnassos, within the angle formed by the twin rocks of the Phaedriades, lies the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, which had the most famous oracle of ancient Greece. Delphi was regarded as the centre of the world. According to mythology, it is here that the two eagles sent out by Zeus from the ends of the universe to find the navel of the world met. The sanctuary of Delphi, set within a most spectacular landscape, was for many centuries the cultural and religious centre and symbol of unity for the Hellenic world. The history of Delphi begins in prehistory and in the myths of the ancient Greeks. In the beginning the site was sacred to Mother Earth and was guarded by the terrible serpent Python, who was later killed by Apollo. Apollo's sanctuary was built here by Cretans who arrived at Kirrha, the port of Delphi, accompanied by the god in the form of a dolphin. This myth survived in plays presented during the various Delphic festivals, such as the Septerion, the Delphinia, the Thargelia, the Theophania and, of course. the famous Pythia, which celebrated the death of Python and comprised musical and athletic competitions.

SITE MONUMENTS

  • TEMPLE OF APOLLO: The visible ruins belong to the last temple, dated to the 4th century B.C., which was peripteral, in Doric order. It was erected exactly on the remains of an earlier temple, dated to the 6th century B.C. Inside was the "adyton", the centre of the Delphic oracle and seat of Pythia. The monument was partly restored during 1938-1941.
  • TREASURY OF THE ATHENIANS: Small building in Doric order, with two columns in antis, and rich relief decoration. It was built by the Athenians at the end of the 6th century B.C. in order to house their offerings to Apollo. After its restoration, in 1903-1906, it is the best preserved building on the site.
  • THE POLYGONAL WALL: This remarkable polygonal wall supports the platform on which stands the Temple of Apollo, and defines the area of the Halos, or threshing floor, to the north-west. It was raised in the second half of the sixth century BC, probably after the destruction of the first temple in 548 BC and before the construction of the Alkmaionides temple in 513-505 BC.
  • TREASURY OF THE SIPHNIANS: The treasury dedicated by the people of Siphnos was one of the most opulent monuments in the temenos of Apollo. Built near the beginning of the Sacred Way, next to the Treasury of the Sikyonians and opposite that of the Megarians, it housed the precious votive offerings dedicated by the Siphnians to the sanctuary.
  • STOA OF THE ATHENIANS: The stoa, built in the Ionic order, has seven fluted columns, each made from a single stone. According to an inscription cut on the stylobate, it was erected by the Athenians, after 478 B.C., to house the trophies taken in their naval victories over the Persians.
  • ANCIENT THEATER OF THE SANCTUARY: It was originally built in the 4th century B.C. but the ruins we see today date from the Roman Imperial period. The cavea had 35 rows of stone benches; the foundations of the skene are preserved on the paved orchestra. The theatre was used mostly for the theatrical performances during the great festivals of the sanctuary.
  • THE SACRED WAY: was the main road leading from the entrance of the temenos to the altar of the Chians and the imposing temple of Apollo.
  • ANCIENT GYMNASIUM: was a complex of buildings used by the youths of Delphi for their education and practice. It was constructed in two levels: on the upper was a stoa and a free open space used for running practice, and on the lower was the palaestra, the pool and the baths (thermae).
  • THE CASTALIAN FOUNTAIN: The Castalian spring was the sacred source of Delphi, and its water played an important role in the cult and procedure of the temple and of the oracle. This is where Pythia, the priests and the temple staff washed, and where the water used to clean the temple came from.
  • ANCIENT STADIUM: The stadium of Delphi is one of the best-preserved monuments of its kind. It is situated north-west of the theatre, above the sanctuary of Apollo, in the highest part of the ancient city. It was reached in antiquity, like today, by a path winding up from the theatre's left parodos. The stadium is closely connected to the history of the Pythian games, since this is where the athletic events took place.
  • THE THOLOS OF ATHENA PRONAIA: Circular building in Doric order, built in ca. 380 B.C. Its function remains unknown but It must have been an important building, judging from the multi-coloured stone, the fine workmanship and the high-standard relief decoration. The monument was partly reconstructed in 1938.
  • THE VOTIVE OFFERING OF DAOCHOS: The votive offering of Daochos is one of the richest and finest private offerings dedicated to the Delphi sanctuary. It stood to the northeast of the temple of Apollo, on an elongated stone base, near the offerings of the Aetolians, the Phoceans and the Deinomenides.
  • THE ALTAR OF THE CHIANS: The large altar of the sanctuary, in front of the temple of Apollo, was paid for and erected by the people of Chios, in the 5th century B.C., according to an inscription cut on the cornice. The monument was made of black marble, except for the base and cornice which were of white marble, resulting in an impressive color contrast. The altar was restored in 1920.
  • LESCHE OF THE KNIDIANS

THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM OF DELPHI

The first museum of Delphi was built in 1903 on the plans of the French architect Tournaire and was later incorporated in a larger edifice, constructed in 1938. The rearrangement of the exhibition was carried out gradually and was finally completed in 1980. In 1974, a new room was added for the exhibition of the gold and ivory finds from the sanctuary. A project for the further enlargement of the museum, which has improved the display of the finds as well as the appearance of the building, has already been made by the Ministry of Culture. The museum is actually an integral part of the sanctuary and contains exclusively finds from the site of Delphi, mostly offerings and architectural parts. Some of the most important exhibits are:

  • THE CHARIOTEER: Bronze statue of a charioteer, originally belonging to a larger group which represented a chariot drawn by four horses. It was dedicated to Apollo by Polyzalos, the tyrant of Gela, in 478 B.C. when he won the chariot-race at the Pythian Games. This incomparable statue is a representative example of the ''severe'' Attic style, certainly the work of a major artist. (Inv. no. 3484, 3520, 3540).
  • CLEOBIS & BITON: Archaic statues representing two brothers from Argos, Cleobis and Biton or, according to a second interpretation, the Dioskouroi. They are the work of the Argive sculptor (Poly)medes. Dated between 610 and 580 B.C. (Inv. no. 1524, 467).
  • CHRYSELEPHANTINE STATUES: Two life-size heads made of ivory and gold, from the chryselephantine statues of gods, interpreted as Apollo and Artemis. (Inv. no. 10406, 10414).
  • THE FRIEZE FROM THE TREASURY OF THE SIPHNIANS: decorated with relief representations of mythological scenes. On the north side, which is the finest and best preserved, there is a representation of Gigantomachy, the war of the gods of Olympus against the Giants. It is a wonderful specimen of the mature Archaic art, dated to 525 B.C. (Inv. no. 1392, 2042).
  • METOPES FROM THE TREASURY OF THE ATHENIAS: Marble metopes from the facade of the Treasury, with representation of Amazonomachy, the Labours of Herakles and the Exploits of Theseus. They were undoubtedly the work of skilled Athenian sculptors and date to ca. 490 B.C. (Inv. no. 86a-b, 2027).
  • WHITE GROUND KYLIX decorated with a unique representation of Apollo: The god is seated on a stool, holds his lyre in his left hand and with his right pours the libation from a bowl. It is the work of an unknown skilled painter, dated to 480-470 B.C. (Inv. no. 8140).
  • MARBLE STATUE OF AGHIAS: an athlete of the pankration (a kind of wrestling), famous for his victories in the 5th century B.C. It is a copy of a bronze original which was made by Lysippos and belongs to the group of statues offered to Apollo by the Thessalian Daochos II, the hieromnemon (representative) of Thessaly in the Amphictyonic League of Delphi. (Inv. no. 1875.)
  • BRONZE INCENSE-BURNER: A wonderful vessel in the shape of a young woman wearing a peplos ("peplophoros"). In her upraised hands she holds a hemispherical cauldron in which the incense was placed. It is an original work of a skilled artist.
  • THE "COLUMN OF THE DANCERS": Statues of three young women forming the upper part of a column encircled with acanthus leaves. The figures are dancing, all wear a short, transparent chiton and bear a basket-like polos on their heads. They supported a bronze tripod cauldron. The column is an Athenian offering to the sanctuary, dated to ca. 330 B.C. (Inv. no. 466, 1423, 4851).
  • STATUE OF ANTINOOS: Marble statue of Antinoos, a youth famous for his beauty, and the favourite of emperor Hadrian. This is one of the best "cult" statues of the young man, who is portrayed as a god. It is a typical example of the "Rennaisance" style of the 2nd century A.D. (Inv. no. 1718).

USEFUL INFORMATION

Telephone: +30 22650 82312
Fax: +30 22650 82966
EMail: protocol@iepka.culture.gr
Ticket: Full: €6, Reduced: €3
Special Ticket Package: Full: €9, Reduced: €5, Valid for: Delphi and Delphi Archaeological Museum.
Open: from the 1st of November until the 31 of March 2010: 8:30-15:00

DELPHI ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
Telephone: +30 22650 82346, +30 22650 82313, +30 22650 82966
Fax:+30 22650 82966
EMail: iepka@culture.gr
Ticket: Full: €6, Reduced: €3
Special Ticket Package: Full: €9, Reduced: €5, Valid for: Delphi and Delphi Archaeological Museum.
Open: from the 1st of November until the 31 of March: 8:30-15:00

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Temple of Apollo

 

 

 

The archaeological site

 

 

 

Temple of Apollo (entrance)

 

 

 

The tholos & the treasuries at the Athena pronaia sanctuary

 

 

 

 

The charioteer

 

 

 

Cleobis & Biton

 

 

 

Chryselephantine statue