About 150 km from Athens at the foot of Parnassus with an imposing view on the valley, there lies one of the most famous place in Greece, the sanctuary of Delfi.
According to the Greek mythology, Delfi was considered to be the centre of the world (omphalos - the navel).
The entrance to the sacred Apollo’s precinct goes up on the Sacred Way, originally lined with treasuries hiding the gifts for the oracle. The best preserved of the treasuries is the treasury of Athens. From the lofty Temple of Apollo, there are only a few doric columns that are still preserved. The main part of the temple (cella) led to the inner sanctuary (adyton). Here, sitting on a tripod, Pythia uttered her prophecies mostly as discontinous cries that were translated into verses by priests. The interpretation of a prophecy itself depended on the inquirer.
Next to the oracle, there used to stand a round building of the Temple of Athena Pronaia (Tholos) from the 4th century BC. There are three columns in the Doric style that have been preserved till nowadays.
The precinct also included a theatre and a well-preserved stadiium.
History and importance of Delfi
According to a legend, there used to be an oracle and the sanctuary of the Greek goddess Gaia, guarded by the dragon god - Python who was defeated and killed by the god Apollo who then retained also the original sanctuary. To commemorate this act, Pythia’s theatre plays and other events started to be organized in the place.
The oracle achieved the greatest importance between the 7th - 6th century BC. Its significance was mainly political - no king or any other important person dared starting a war, entering into marriage or taking any important decision without visiting the Delphi oracle first. Yet already in the ancient times, its significance started to diminsh, until it cease to exist after the prohibition of pagan customs in the 4th century AD.
Video from Delfi: