Delphi, Greece

A temple that has stood the test of time

Location of Delphi

Delphi is located in Greece, about 100 miles northwest of Athens. Delphi is positioned high in the mountains, in the Ravine of the Phaedriads. Delphi itself is on top of a rocky hill, overlooking a beautiful valley, filled with some of the best quality olive trees in Greece. The closest village to the sanctuary is the village of Delphi, a small village of only 1500, located two km. from the site.

Description of Delphi

Delphi is a ancient and beautiful temple that has stood proud and tall since the sixth century B.C.E. Delphi consists of two temples. The first temple, was created in the sixth century B.C.E, but is buried under the second temple, which was created during the fourth century B.C.E.

History of Delphi

Delphi's history is one of violence and turmoil. The temple itself was created to honor Apollo defeating a she-dragon named Pytho. Delphi has been inhabited since the times of the Mycenaean people (around the 14-11 century B.C.E). Back then, Delphi was so important that some thought it to be the center of the world. During the 8th century B.C.E Delphi became known for the Oracle that resided in its halls; The Oracle of Delphi. Ancient people held complete trust for her predictions, and would sacrifice large sums of money to have her make a prediction. The Oracle of Delphi told a Greek general (Themistokles) that "wooden walls" would help him win the battle. He took that to mean that boats would help him win the battle, so he led the fleet of Athens to victory over the Persian navy. In 356 B.C.E the Phocians captured Delphi and stripped it of its valuables so they could fund their war. Their hold of the sanctuary was shot however, because in 339 B.C.E King Phillip of Macedon liberated it. Finally, in 191 B.C.E the temple fell into Roman hands.

Who considers Delphi sacred?

Delphi was sacred to many different kinds of people, for many different reasons. The temple itself was created to honor the Greek god Apollo killing the she-dragon Pytho. Apollo was the Greek of prophecy, music, intellectual pursuits, healing, plague, and the sun. He also went on to be a Roman god, so the site had a spiritual value to the Romans as well. Lastly, the temple housed the Oracle of Delphi, who gave spiritual predictions by conferencing with the gods. So as you can see, Delphi was sacred to many people, whether Greek, Roman, or simply somebody looking for answers.

Why is Delphi sacred?

Delphi was sacred for several reasons. Firstly it was built to honor the Greek god Apollo killing Pytho, so it very nature is sacred. Ancient Greeks even believed that Delphi was the center of the world. They backed this up by saying that when Zeus had released two golden eagles from either end of the earth with the intention of finding its center, the came together at Delphi. It also was home the Oracle of Delphi who told the Future by communicating with the gods.