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Published: July 19th 2018
Tholos of Delphi
Tony spent some time working out theories on what the building was used for. No one knows for sure.
Day 20 - Delphi
We decided to only take one tour outside of Athens on this trip. Delphi is one of the more important historic sites outside of Athens. We booked a tour with George’s Taxi for a full day private ride and tour to Delphi. The driver, Stratos, drove us to the sites, gave us a bit of history and tips for the locations, booked us lunch, and even let us sleep on the way back. The price was very reasonable and over all we think it was the best way to do the trip.
It was about a 2 hour drive to Delphi so we started out at 7:25 AM. Stratos had a 30 min video to watch on the way that gave us a bit of background on the site. It was very helpful to know what we were looking at when we finally got there. He also pointed out some of the prettier views on the way and answered our questions about the area. Once at Delphi we grabbed a snack and headed up the hill. Like many places in Greece, the site was built in many levels against a
Storage for the (small) offerings
They were to stay here for all eternity. I wonder if some disappeared before the temples closed.
We worked our way up from the city treasuries, past the Sybil Rock and the Stoa of Athens. Many of these sites were just foundations with inscriptions that were used to identify them. Time and geology have worked together to bury much of the site and only some of it has been excavated. From there we saw the Temple of Apollo which was in better condition than the lower sites. Above the temple was the Delphi Theater of Dionysus. The oracle at Delphi only was available one day a month and was not available over the winter months at all. Consequently, there were many other activities at the site for pilgrims to participate in while they waited.
All along the way we saw the bases for many offerings from cities and affluent individuals that have since been removed centuries before. At one point we even saw evidence of an active archaeological dig. There were posted signs asking us “Please do not photograph the archaeologists”. The highest point we were able to get to was the Stadium used for physical contests such as races, wrestling, and javelin and discus throws. As we walked we
I spy a roman at Delphi
Camp Jupiter t-shirt... it's a Percy Jackson thing.
saw Roman ruins interspersed throughout the site. The whole site was restored and increased from the original Greek site by the Romans before falling into disuse after the fall of the Roman Empire.
After making it to the top we headed back down for a tour through the associated museum. Many of the archaeological finds from the site were displayed here with many partial recreations filling in for missing elements. Most of the metal accents and states had long been looted but they were able to find a few that had been buried by past earthquakes and landslides.
After Delphi we backtracked a bit to the Athena Pronea Temple below the site of Delphi and sampled some spring water from the Castalia Spring. Then we headed to lunch at a restaurant perched on the cliffside in the modern town of Delphi. It is only modern in the sense that it has been around for less than 150 years instead of centuries. After lunch we stopped for a short time in the resort town of Arachova. Both Delphi and Arachova see tourists during the winter months for the local skiing. We walked through
Lots of ways to pass time during the month or more you wait for the Oracle to see you.
some of the local streets and saw a bit of what country life is like in a small village in Greece. The rest of the ride back to Athens was quiet, especially since Anne fell asleep not far outside of Arachova.
Once back at the house we said goodbye to Stratos and took our customary afternoon nap before heading out for an evening walk and dinner. Sunday is our last full day in Athens and we plan to visit the Acropolis and some of the other historical sites around Athens.
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