Archaeological Site of Delphi (Central Mainland - Greece)

On one day, we did a daytrip from Athens to Peloponnese and another day we did another daytrip northwards towards Delphi. Our initial stops were Daphni Monastery, Hosios Loukas Monastery, from there, we headed to Delphi.


Pic Credit: Google Maps

Delphi is in the same lines as Mykines (Mycenae). Unlike Athens Acropolis, this whole place is in ruins and yet to be reconstructed. While each and every structure / ruin has been labelled and the guide app gives precise details as how it was originally used, its hard to imagine how the structures would have looked like, when all that you see is the plans and very few elevations.

Going about the entire place is pretty easy with a passage to be followed. Honestly, I didn't understand anything when I was walking through this place. But here's the thing - see and observe each monument, each ruin and when you head to the site museum after that, you'll get the complete picture! Everything that's relatively intact - every sculpture, pillar, relief etc that has been excavated here, is kept safely in the  site museum.

The first stop was the Roman Agora, a typical Roman styled monument with pillars. This is followed by a circular structure (through which the path passes through) filled with inscriptions about the Kings of Argos. Beyond this are 3 Treasuries (the names are mentioned in plaques, but what you see are only the ground plan with about 1ft elevation). The only one in good state is the Treasury of Athenians. This was used as a treasury that stored the offerings of Athens to Apollo. This has the complete structure of a temple as is Doric style. There are reliefs in the frieze that depict Herakles and Theseus. 
In front of it, is a huge stone that looks like the tip of a bullet! Well, actually it is! But just not of humans, but of Zeus, the Greek God! He shot it from the heavens to find the centre of the earth!!! It was originally decorated with woolen yarns & semi-precious stones. Its called the Omphalos

Beyond this is the Portico of Athenians that has more pillars like Roman Agora. There are 3 more structures of either sides which are again ruins with just floor plans today! After this is the humongous Sanctuary of Apollo with gigantic pillars. This must have looked like what Parthenon, looks like. It was originally supposed to have been built in 700 BCE which was destroyed in 548 BCE and reconstructed in 514 BCE with the help of Athenian rich people (that's why the Treasury of Athenians is large)! This was again destroyed in 373 BCE and the current structure was built in 330 BCE. 
Beyond this are few more ruins including the bases & pedestals of pillars and huge sculptures, followed by the fabulous Theatre. From here in about 10 minutes walk is the Delphi Archaeological Museum.



As I mentioned earlier, you get a whole picture here. From seeing the pedestal of the Sphinx there, here's the actual Sphinx! Then are the friezes of the Apollo Temple! There are also some painted fragments of 5th C BCE. There were some blocks of the Athenian Treasury that had musical inscriptions that reminded me much of Thirumayam in India!!!

Again, from seeing the base of a pillar there, to seeing the actual designed details of the lower part, upper part and tip of the Column of Dancers here, it all actually made sense. 
I got to rejoice, just as I did in Daphni. I got to actually see, the sculptures/art that I studied about in my art history classes. Here was the Bronze Charioteer!!! This is a bronze sculpture that was made in around 470 BCE. Its lifesized at 1.8m. If you try to find out about bronze sculptures are made, this will blow your mind. I mean, yes, you do find several jewelry in various civilization sites. But to make something of this size, with this much detailing is purely mind blowing!


A short walk from this site is the Sanctuary of Athena which is a combination of 5 monuments built from 700 BCE to mid 400 BCE. This is the only site which actually gave me a better idea of what Tholos was.  Few pillars and a bit of the ceiling, of the Tholos is still surviving...
From here, we headed back to Athens, but stopped at the Arachova view point! Just like every city has the city's name like an installation to promote on social media (IAmsterdamBeWelcome etc), here too is a huge #Arachova and guilty as charged, we did take a pic here!

Here's a tip: It is NOT wheelchair or stroller friendly! 


Entry Tickets & Timings:
Delphi: €12 (€6 in winter)
Timings: 8:30AM to 5:00PM (winters); 8:00AM to 8:00PM (spring & summer); 8:00AM to 6-7:30PM (autumn)

To Get There:
On Google Maps: Delphi
From Athens: Several tour operators have private or group daytrips to Delphi. I took the Private tour of Peloponnese by WithLocals with the awesome guide Vassilis (€15 discount code).
By Public Transport: Refer to my earlier post.

My complete - 
Peloponnese TravelogueDay trip to PeloponneseMycenae & TirynsEpidaurus
Attica Travelogue: Athens, Daphni Monastery
Central Mainland Travelogue: Delphi, Hosios Loukas Monastery

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

14 comments:

  1. Wow it's crazy that the bronze sculpture is so old. It sounds like a really fascinating place. The Sanctuary of Athena looks beautiful!

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  2. I visited Delphi over 20 years ago on my first trip to Greece, and loved my day there! It's always so thrilling to be able to visit such ancient structures. I remember we spent hours in that museum; it's just fascinating. Great post!

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  3. I have heard of Delphi many times related to Greece itineraries. I did not know how interesting it looks. That's for bringing its story to us. It must be included in the Greece itinerary of mine. Being a history buff, I cannot afford to miss this one.

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  4. It's hard to imagine how this place must be before it turned into ruins. The theatre still seems a bit intact. I am not too big a museum fan but Delphi site museum seems interesting to me in a certain way.

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  5. Ahhh my husband would LOVE to see all the archeological sites in Greece! It's amazing how intact some of the details are! I would love to visit it one day!

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  6. Delphi is one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in Greece, no doubt. I have visited the place several times but I still enjoyed your virtual tour. The site has become too touristy in recent years but nevertheless, it's definitely still worth visiting

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  7. I visited this place 4 years and I fell in love! Wished I'd read something like this post back then to be prepared for my visit - Thanks for writing all this detailed information for other travellers :)

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  8. THe portico looks indeed like a Roman agora and reminds me of my visit to ALgeria, where Roman Empire ruins are numerous. I love to visit ancient sites, I already told you. It's always better than the musem, even if the ruin is small.

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  9. Some of the parts of Roman Agora looks like Nalanda Archeological site especially when you get a bird's eye view. For me, Delphi archeological museum would take a lot of time because there are so many treasures kept and preserved here. Again a great find.

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  10. I'm learning so much about Greek history and philosophy from you lately, I love it. These monuments and sculptures come from such an incredibly interesting time in human history. I really hope I get to see these in person one day as well. I was just floored by the ruins in Rome last year, I can't imagine my reaction when I finally get to see Athens.

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  11. I wish I would have had more than 24 hours in Athens to see and do it all. Such rich history and you covered it perfectly!

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  12. I did a project in school on Delphi when I was 10 years old. I have always wanted to visit! Ruins are my favorite things because of all the history.

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  13. Delphi looks like such a cool place! I can see what you mean about it being hard to visualize what the structures looked like with only the floor plans and foundations, but I think there is some beauty in the fact that they haven't been restored. The Omphalos looks very cool and the theater looks like it is in really good condition! That is also very cool that you were able to see some pieces that you had studied in art history.

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  14. It is truly remarkable that these sculptures are still standing proudly. They still depicts its precious history and cant be replaced.

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