Posted by: Leap of Faith | November 17, 2009

The Oracle of Delphi


The day after we arrived in Athens, we took a three-day coach tour of Delphi and Meteora.  Our initial impression of Athens was quite disappointing since it did not look like anything we had in mind (i.e. the city was crowded and did not have the distinct appeal that most European cities have).  So, Pinky and I were very excited to hop on our bus and go to the ancient city of Delphi.

In ancient times, Delphi was known to be the “navel” of the earth.  As per our guide-book, “the site was renowned as a dwelling place of Apollo, and from the 8th century BC people came here to worship and seek advice from the god.”  As far as I know, the most important reason why kings and peasants went here was to consult the Delphic Oracle, which were really women in a trance who whispered inaudible words to a priest who later interpreted this to the people. One famous Greek King who went here was Leonidas of Sparta (of the movie 300 fame).

I was immediately in awe upon arriving at this sacred ground, which, by the way, was unearthed by archaeologists in this century only.  Prior to this, Delphi was lost in the mountains and was covered by centuries-worth of rocks, soil and trees.

The ruins of the Roman Agora (market place), where people used to buy offerings for the temple.  Behind is Mt Parnassus, under whose slopes this ancient city is situated.

A closer look of the Agora.  Those small caverns used to house bronze statues representing gods and heroes of Arcadia.

Marga and I pose in front of the reconstructed Athenian Treasury.  The treasuries (yes, there were several of them but most were completely ruined) are “small, elegant temple-shaped buildings that were erected in commemoration of a historical event in order to house precious offerings.”

The whole gang at the base of what is left of Apollo’s Temple.  The lady on the right is my mom.

Another view of the Temple of Apollo, which used to house the famous Oracle in its basement.  It is believed that fumes evaporate from its rocks, which when inhaled by the pythea (ladies who deliver the message from the gods) causes them to go into a trance.

It was unfortunate that, due to a recent earthquake, we could not proceed to the other levels due to possible risk of landslides. Because of this, we missed seeing the well-preserved theatre and stadium among others.

Another view of the ruins of Delphi.  Between the mountains is a river that passes through a great plain.  This was one of the ways how people used to go to Deplhi… the other, of course, was through a very long walk from Athens!

The place was packed with tourist and understandably so since this is the third most visited place in Greece.  The lady in the middle is our tour guide.

After a long day, we stayed over night at the sleepy town of Delphi.  The town, by the way, was fully relocated to a new location after archaeologists found out that the original location was the site of the Sanctuary of Athena.

More silly poses from our boys.

Mom and I taking a break…

… beside this traditional Greek Orthodox church.  We all went in and were totally freaked out by the gloomy interior and the piped in music of monks chanting.  We seriously thought they were about to offer us all to their gods!

Pinky and kids doings some shopping… actually, they were looking for magnets to add to our collection.

This is all for now.  More pictures coming soon!

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Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing! Sana matuloy din plans namin sa Greece. Nway, parang nakapunta na rin ako. Salamat!

    • King, sabihin mo sa amin kung matuloy kayo para we can tell you which places to go to. Sana matuloy kayo kasi very interesting talaga siya.

  2. Oh yes… Delphi was indeed delightful! 🙂 Icing on the cake was that it sparked the interest in Greek mythology in our boys – sweet! 😀

    • Naku, Luigi and Rafael know more about Greek mythology than I do! I hope we are still able to give them more “educational” opportunities like this in the future.


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