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Delphi Greece

The Treasury of the Athenians (photo below)

During the Mycenaean period (1400 to 1200 B.C.), The Female Deity of Earth was worshipped in the small settlement of Delphi. The development of the sanctuary and oracle though, began in the 8th century B.C. with the establishment of the cult of Apollo. Under the protection and administration of the Amphictyony, the sanctuary continued to be autonomous after the First Sacred War and, as a result, increased its panhellenic religious and political influence.

The Pythian Games were re-organized, the sanctuary was enlarged and it was enriched with nice buildings, statues, and other offerings. In the 3rd century B.C. it came under the domination of the Aetolians and later, in 191 B.C., was conquered by the Romans. During the Roman occupation the site was sometimes plundered but was also favoured by some of the emperors. With the spread of Christianity, the sanctuary lost its religious meaning and was permanently closed down with a decree of emperor Theodosius the Great.

The Altar of the Chians

The large altar of the sanctuary, in front of the temple of Apollo, was paid for and erected by the people of Chios, in the 5th century B.C., according to an inscription cut on the cornice. The monument was made of black marble, except for the base and cornice which were of white marble, resulting in an impressive color contrast.

The Theatre of the Sanctuary

It was originally built in the 4th century B.C. but the ruins we see today date from the Roman Imperial period. The Theatre had 35 rows of stone benches; the foundations of which are preserved on the paved orchestra. The theatre was used mostly for the theatrical performances during the great festivals of the Sanctuary.

The Theatre of the Sanctuary

From the stage.

The Stadium

It was constructed in the 5th century B.C. and was remodelled in the 2nd century A.D. at the expense of Herodes Atticus. Then were added the stone seats and the arched monumental entrance. It was in this Stadium that the panhellenic Pythian Games took place.

Archway of the Stadium

This lead the contestants to the Stadium.

Part of the Alter of the Chians

The Stoa of the Athenians

The Stoa, built in the Ionic order, has seven fluted columns, each made from a single stone. According to an inscription cut on the stylobate (the top step of the platform that supports columns), it was erected by the Athenians, after 478 B.C., to house the trophies taken in their naval victories over the Persians.

The Tholos

Circular building in Doric order (Greek Doric order), built in Circa 380 B.C. Its function remains unknown but It must have been an important building, judging from the multi-coloured stone, the fine workmanship and the high-standard relief decoration.

The Gymnasium

It was a complex of buildings used by the youths of Delphi for their education and practice. It was constructed in two levels: on the upper was a stoa and a free open space used for running practice, and on the lower was the palaestra, the pool and the baths.

The Castalia Spring

The sacred spring of Delphi lies in the ravine of the Phaedriades. The preserved remains of two monumental fountains that received the water from the spring date to the Archaic period and the Roman era. The later one is cut in the rock and has niches cut high in the cliff, which probably held the offerings to the Nymph Castalia.

Marble Column

From the Stoa of the Athenians.

The Polygonal Wall

Retaining wall, built after the destruction of the old temple of Apollo in 548 B.C., to support the terrace on which the new temple was to be erected. The masonry is polygonal and the curved joints of the stones fit perfectly in place. A large number of inscriptions, mostly manumissions, are carved on the stones of the wall.

The Temple of Apollo

The visible ruins belong to the last temple, dated to the 4th century B.C., which was peripteral, in Doric order. It was erected exactly on the remains of an earlier temple, dated to the 6th century B.C. Inside was the "adyton", the centre of the Delphic oracle and seat of Pythia.

Another view of Apollo Temple

Pillars and the Mt. in the background.

Video: The Stadium