After the Acropolis, Delphi
is the most popular archaeological site in Greece. Located 180 kilometers from
Athens, a trip to Delphi is listed in just about every tour itinerary and is by
far the most popular day trip out of Athens.
In ancient times it was the
site of the most important oracle of the god Apollo. Delphi was revered
throughout the Greek world as the site of the ομφαλός (omphalos) stone, the
centre of the universewhere
heaven and earth met.
Delphi sanctuary excavations have unearthed settlements that date as far back
as the Neolithic era. However evidence of the site's importance dates back to
the Mycenaean period (1600-1100 B.C).The
functions of the Oracle of Delphi grew over the centuries to include athletic
games and cultural events andDelphic festivals, the most important of
which was the Pythian Games which were held every four years in memory of
Apollo's slaying of the Python Dragon.Some of the most prominent
edifices on the sacred slopes of Delphi are thetemple of Apollo, theancient theater, thestadium, thesanctuary of Athena Pronaiawith the Tholos, the Kastalia spring, and the various
treasuries that adorn the sacred way. Thearchaeological
museumon the site contains many important ancient Greek
artifacts from the excavations at Delphi.