Top 5 Things to do in Delphi: Find out what you shall not miss while you are in Delphi.
About the area
Delphi lies between two towering rocks of Mt. Parnassus, known as the Phaidriades (Shining) Rocks, in the Regional unit of Phocis in Central Greece. Here lies the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Apollo, the Olympian god of light, knowledge, and harmony. The area was inhabited in the 2nd millennium BC, as is evident from Mycenaean remains (1500-1100 BC). The development of the sanctuary and oracle began in the 8th century BC, and their religious and political influence over the whole of Greece increased in the 6th century BC.
At the same time, their fame and prestige spread throughout the whole of the then known world, from which pilgrims came to the site to receive an oracle from Pythia, the priestess of Apollo. A place with a rich intangible heritage, Delphi was the center of the world (omphalos) in the eyes of the ancient Greeks: according to myth, it was the meeting point of two eagles released by Zeus, one to the East and one in the West. The magnificent monumental complex is a human-made environment in perfect harmony with the rare natural environment, the principal features of which gave rise to the organization of the cults. This harmonious relationship, which has remained undisturbed from ancient times to the present day, makes Delphi a unique monument and a priceless legacy bequeathed by the ancient Greek world to following generations.
Credits to: https://whc.unesco.org/
- The Archaeological Site of Delphi
The archaeological site of Delphi is one of the Top 5 Things to do in Delphi. At 1 km distance from the modern settlement of Delphi on the road between Arachova-Amphissa-Itea. The modern road divides and delimitates the two ancient sanctuaries, namely the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia to the south and the Sanctuary of Apollo to the north. The sanctuary of Athena Pronaia comprises the Tholos, the temples of Athena, and two (at least) treasuries, whereas next to it the impressive gymnasium is situated.
Along with the sanctuary of Apollo, the Sacred Way ran, on both sides of which the Treasuries of the Greek cities were gradually built and ex-votos and monumental sculpted complexes were erected. The Sacred Way ends at the Temple of Apollo, which comprised the Oracle of Delphi in antiquity, whereas the theatre rose above the sacred area. Outside of the sacred precinct public buildings were constructed, such as the Western Portico and the Stadium, the latter situated on the highest point of the archaeological site.
Credits to: https://delphi.culture.gr/
- The Archaeological Museum of Delphi
The Archaeological Museum of Delphi, one of the most important in Greece, exhibits the history of the Delphic sanctuary, site of the most famous ancient Greek oracle. Its rich collections consist primarily of architectural sculpture, statues and minor objects donated to the sanctuary. These reflect its religious, political and artistic activities from its early years in the eight century BC to its decline in Late Antiquity. The museum is housed in a two-storey building with a total surface area of 2270 square metres, with fourteen exhibition rooms, 558 square metres of storerooms and conservation laboratories for pottery, metal objects and mosaics. A new lobby, cafeteria and gift shop were created during the museum’s latest refurbishment. The permanent exhibition of the Archaeological Museum of Delphi focuses on the history of the Delphic sanctuary and oracle, covering the long time span from prehistory to Late Antiquity. Most of the exhibits were donated to the sanctuary during its period of great prosperity, from Archaic Greek to Roman times.
The exhibits are presented in chronological order and by context (Sanctuary of Pronaia, votive pit of the Sacred Way, Temple of Apollo, Siphnian Treasury). These groups are part of larger exhibition units, which allow the visitor to understand the periods of floruit and decline of the sanctuary, the wealth of the different donors, the identity of the various artistic workshops and the urban and demographic development around the sanctuary. The exhibition is set out according to the specific needs of each medium: large-scale statues and architectural sculpture need more ‘room to breathe’ than the so-called minor objects. The exhibition focuses mainly on the art of the Archaic period, on metal and marble offerings rather than on pottery, and on monumental architectural and sculptural groups rather than on domestic or funerary assemblages. Some particularly impressive exhibits, such as the famous bronze Charioteer, are displayed separately. Texts, models, maps, sketches and digital reconstructions, illustrating the physical setting of the objects, complete the exhibition. Definitely one of the top 5 things to do in Delphi.
Credits to: http://odysseus.culture.gr/h/4/eh41.jsp?obj_id=3627
- The Temple of Apollo
The archaic temple of Apollo was constructed in 510 B.C. with money raised by many Greek cities under the auspices of the Alcmaeonids of Athens. When this temple was destroyed by an earthquake in 373 B.C., the Greek cities collected money again and built the extant temple, which was accomplished in ca 330 B.C. It was a Doric peripteral temple with a vestibule and an opisthodomos distyle in antis. In the cella was situated the statue of the god and the omphalos (navel of the earth), whereas in the vestibule were inscribed the Delphic maxims of the seven wise men of Ancient Greece.
Credits to: https://delphi.culture.gr/
- The Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia
The sanctuary of Athena, as attested by the term “Pronaia”, was the first one to be seen by the visitor who came from the east. It seems that here lay one of the most ancient cultic sites, where rituals in worship of Gaia, previous “owner” of the sacred space, took place. The Mycenaean figurines which were discovered during the excavations probably constituted votive offerings, although this is not certain.The temple of Athena Pronaia is one of the oldest buildings in Delphi with a complicated history. The temple of Athena Pronaia had three phases. The earlier temples (A and B) were built in the 7th and 6th centuries B.C. respectively and were made of porous stone, whereas the third one was built in the 4th century B.C. of limestone. The latter was a prostyle in antis with six columns on the facade, with a cella and vestibule, but without decoration on the metopes and pediments.
Credits to: https://delphi.culture.gr/
- Visit the village of Arachova
Completing the top 5 things to do in Delphi, you should not skip a visit to the traditional village of Arachova. Arachova is a mountainous village nestling picturesquely at the foot of Mt. Parnassos in Viotia, Southern Greece.It is the most cosmopolitan winter destination in Greece, a great favourite for passionate ski lovers and celebrities, or just first-time visitors who wish to relax in a dreamy mountainous setting with modern tourism facilities. Its modern ski resort, its close proximity to Athens, and its breathtaking mountainous landscape are the strongest reason why. Apart from the mountain activities, Arachova is also famous for its bustling nightlife and as the favorite mountain resort of Athenians. It is located 35 km west of Livadeia.
A must out of the top 5 things to do in Delphi.
Credits to: https://www.visitgreece.gr/mainland/central-greece/arachova/
Tickets to Delphi Archaeological Site and Museum
Full: €12, Reduced: €6
Museum & Archaeological Site Special ticket package: Full: €12, Reduced: €6
Ticket price from 01/11/2021 to 31/03/2022 6 €
Free admission days
6 March (in memory of Melina Mercouri)
18 April (International Monuments Day)
18 May (International Museums Day)
The last weekend of September annually (European Heritage Days)
Every first Sunday from November 1st to March 31st