Expedition Team: Jacque Kelly, Dave Miller Expedition Date: April 2018
Jacque and I boarded a bus for the 170 mile trip from Athens to the Sanctuary of Delphi on the southwest slope of Mt. Parnassus. The last couple of villages before we reached Delphi had one lane streets and the bus came so close to hitting other cars (Photo#2).
Greeks at Delphi, called “The Oracles”, specialized in predicting the future. Leaders came from near and far to consult with the Oracles about important decisions. Modern scientists determined these “Oracles” didn’t really have special powers to proficize the future but were actually “high” from gas fumes leaking from openings in the mountain.
The main temple of Apollo temple ruins (Photo #3 & #4) was beautiful overlooking the valley below. The first temple was built in 600BC. As we continued to hike up the “sacred way” path we came upon an old amphitheater (Photo#5) built in 400BC. Further up the mountainside was a stadium (Photo#6) where the Pythian Games took place. These athletic contests, held every four years were a sort of early Olympic Games. The stadium could hold 6,500 spectators.
Other ruins included a Treasury Building (Photo#7) built in 490BC and the infamous sacred Omphalos Stone or the “Navel of the World” (Photo#8) . As the story goes, God Zeus wanted to locate the center of the world. He sent two eagles out each flying in different directions. When the eagles eventually met, Zeus dropped a stone at that location. The stone landed in Delphi marking it as the center of the world.
Most people don’t realize that Greece has over 300 mountains with 80% of the country being hills or mountains.