The Sanctuary of Apollo at Ancient Delphi is arguably the most important historical site in Greece. It dates back to as early as 1500 B.C. and was home to the Oracle, where the God counseled people the priestess, Pythia.
To get to Delphi I took a tour bus from Athens, which took just over two hours. Along the way, we enjoyed a guided tour through the bus windows thanks to our knowledgeable guide.
The site of The Sanctuary Apollo was formerly the site of the modern Delphi Village until it was discovered that the sanctuary was buried under the village. The residents were relocated down the road and now The Sanctuary of Apollo is a major tourist attraction for the region.
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Inside The Sanctuary Apollo, we made our way up the various levels, visiting temples, offerings, and the stadium.
People from all over Greece, including kings, war generals and leaders came to the Oracle of Delphi to consult with Apollo. They were looking for a prophecy about their future, major decisions, wars, resources and guidance in all areas of their life.
The most interesting part of the learning experience for me was hearing from our guide. She told us that prophets would collect information for hours from the individual about their homeland, job, the current situation in their region and so on. Then they would collate all of this data and ultimately they created a large database, which enabled them to make informed decisions.
In addition to having large amounts of information about all parts of Greece, the prophets gave ambiguous prophecies. This meant they were never blamed for a direct outcome. If they managed to predict an outcome that happened, they were given offerings. These offerings often came in the form of temples or structures that are the monuments seen today at The Sanctuary Apollo.
Another part of The Sanctuary Apollo that stood out to me was the stadium. Much thinner than a football pitch but a similar size. Here the Pythian games were held were competitors from all over Greece came to compete in various competitions. A training area nearby is also still visible. It might be the earliest sign of a gym in Greece.
After exploring The Sanctuary Apollo for several hours we wandered into the museum. Here the finer details of the temples have been preserved. The intricate ornaments that once adorned the temples can be seen on the walls of the museum. Statues, which are in amazing condition can be marveled at. I struggled to wrap my head around the good condition of some of the relics, which were thousands of years old.
Our final stop was a short drive to Tholos of Delphi. A structure which has perplexed historians for years due to its circular shape. I remember looking up at this temple, in disbelief. How was this constructed thousands of years ago in such great detail? It made me feel like a speck on an incredibly long timeline of our existence.
Delphi is a historian’s paradise and a mind blowing experience for all of those looking for a unique way to experience history. Unlike a standard museum, you are able to take through the same paths people used thousands of years ago. That is special and a feeling I will never forget.