Greek mythology says that the site of Delphi, located in central Greece, was the center of the world. This was supposedly found when Zeus sought to find the center of Earth, so he released two eagles, one from the west and one from the east. The eagles crossed paths over Delphi.
The Delphi Oracle, Pythia, had already given Delphi a huge importance in these years. The oracle was established in Delphi in the 8th century BC, but it’s believed to have been present since 1,400 BC. For anyone not knowing what an oracle is (I wasn’t sure what it was before visiting), it’s “a priest or priestess acting as a medium through whom advice or prophecy was sought from gods.” So essentially, the oracle would give information to a priest or priestess, who could then tell others. It was used to decide if Greeks should go to war or not and other important decisions of the empire.
Delphi is set on Mt. Parnassus above the valley of Phocis. It’s an incredible location with the serenity you would want for one of the most important temples of a civilization. Back in those years, it was one of the most spiritual journeys one could make. Arriving to this location in the middle of nowhere and subsequently climbing up to the temple must have been the ultimate religious experience. At one time, the entrance was lined with statues of athletes, which led up to the treasury building, a theater (original can still be seen), a stadium, and a few sanctuaries. In the stadium was where the Pythian Games were played every four years, starting in 586 BC. These were the precursor games to the Olympic Games.
On some of the original structures and ruins still up, one can read carvings written in Ancient Greek. In a time well before any type of communication we have now (I assume Ancient Greeks didn’t tag themselves in selfies before battling the Persians with javelins and shields), many of the civilizations updates were carved onto stones to commemorate their heroes and victories. One particular carving we saw mentioned the victory at the Battle of Marathon. Just to clarify, there were no hashtags like #OurYogurtIsBetterThanYours.
We had the chance to visit Delphi on our way back to Thessaloniki from Athens. Chika’s group had an extra seat on the bus, so I was able to ride along with them and make the well-deserved stop at Delphi. It’s one of the most important historical sites in Greece and a great half-day visit.