About the Ancient Historical Sights at Delphi

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The ancient Greeks considered Delphi to be the center of the world. Ancient Delphi consists of ancient ruins that were built on the slopes of Mt. Parnassus, overlooking the Gulf of Corinth.

The sights of Ancient Delphi include:

Sanctuary of Apollo
The Sanctuary of Apollo is the focus of Delphi and dates back to the 4th century BC. Two earlier versions of the Temple were destroyed, the first burned down and the second was destroyed by an earthquake. It originally had 6 columns on the front and 15 on the sides and today visitors can see one complete column on the façade and portions of five more columns. The Sanctuary of Apollo famously housed The Oracle of Delphi in a small chamber. The appointed seer, named Pythia, was typically a middle-aged peasant woman who was selected and trained for her role. She provided advice and spoke as a possessed medium for Apollo, the god of prophecy.

Sanctuary of Athena Pronea The Sanctuary of Athena Pronea received its name because it was the first mark of Delphi visible to people coming from the East, before they reached the Temple of Apollo. “Pronea” means before the Temple. When people came to Delphi looking for an oracle, they would first offer a sacrifice at the Athena Pronea, considered to be the guardian of the oracle Pythia. It is the most remarkable of Delphi’s monuments. The Sanctuary of Athena Pronea consisted of several altars, temples, and the Tholos- a circular structure (an unusual shape in ancient Greek architecture) that comprised 20 columns on a three-stepped podium. 3 of these columns were re-erected in the 1940’s. The white portions of each column are the original marble and the darker portions are the new material. The Sanctuary of Athena Pronea is especially magnificent when the rays of the sun are shining on it.

Delphi Museum
The Delphi Museum is an archeological museum that holds all of the ancient artifacts of Delphi. One of the most prominent artifacts is the Sphinx of the Naxians, a white marble sphinx that depicts a mythical creature that was a symbol of earthly divinity and heavenly power that has the body and legs of a lion, the chest and wings of a bird, and the head of a woman. At one time it dominated Apollo’s sanctuary on top of a high Ionic column. Other features of the Delphi Museum include a frieze from the Siphnian treasury which depicts a battle between the gods and the giants, “kouroi” or statues of young men- the “twins of Argos”, fragments of metopes (figures within the frieze) that depict the Labours of Hercules, the Exploits of Theseus and the Battle of the Amazons, Acanthus Column of Dancers with three women dancing around its top, Omphalos- a sculpted cone that once stood at what was considered the center of the world, and a Bronze Charioteer which commemorates a victory in the Pythian Games.

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