'Meeting the Oracle at Delphi' first posted on my blog From The Corner TableFans of Greek mythology have often been fascinated with 'the Oracle'. And with yours truly and the elder sister being 'almost fans', we were giddy with delight when the brother-in-law pointed out that the famed seat of Pythia the Oracle, said to have been consulted for all important decisions in ancient times, was just a few hours away in Delphi. The tiny town was built around the Temple of Apollo and the Tholos, two ancient sanctuaries built on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. It should be noted that Delphi is recognised by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.For the uninitiated, this Oracle is not the one from the Matrix trilogy. As per everyone's favourite Wikipedia, the Oracle was "a person or agency considered to provide wise and insightful counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods". Pythia was the high priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi and also renowned as the Oracle of Delphi.Historical evidences suggest ancient Delphi was the place of worship for Gaia, the goddess connected with fertility. The town and temple gained popularity in the 7 th century BC.Winding roads to history A day after trudging up and down the Acropolis of Athens, walking through the Athenian Agora and generally over-eating during an evening meal only to follow up with a traditional Greek dinner, the troika decided to venture out of Athens towards Delphi for a day trip.Reaching Delphi from Athens is pretty much a breeze. Unless you prefer to drive up and down the mountainous roads, just head to Terminal B of Liossion Street Bus Terminal and hop onto one of the buses. Tickets are available at the terminal booking office. You can pick up a schedule from any tourism office in the city or check with the enquiry at the Acropolis of Athens. These buses take around 3 to 3.5 hours to reach Delphi and the journey is a visual delight. For those battling motion sickness, I recommend popping some pills to avoid a queasy ride.There are stories galore that make the history of Delphi enchanting but one of the most interesting of stories is how the town came to be the location for the Omphalos or the 'navel of the world'. Legends say Zeus - ruler of the Olympian gods - wanted to find the centre of the earth. So he sent two eagles soaring from the west and the east and kept a lookout for the point where the paths of the two birds converged. This point was Delphi where one found the 'navel' of the world.The Omphalos - or perhaps a copy of it - is ensconced in the Delphi Archaeological Museum along with several other artefacts unearthed during the excavation of the Temple of Apollo and the Tholos of Delphi. Most of the relics that have survived are believed to have been from the 6th century BC, one of the most dynamic times of the town.
Next day we took a tour to Delphi. It's always better to do homework before you go to any place. We did little research on Greek mythological characters but we still weren't aware of it completely. Delphi is regarded as sacred in Greek mythology. There is a small hike which takes you to Apollo's temple .Also there is an amphitheater for 5000 people. (You can only see the seating area) and much higher there is a stadium which was used for athletic games of Delphi .You will also be able to see temple of Athena which is close by.
Delphi was known in ancient times as the navel of the world. It's the site of the 4th-century-B.C. Temple of Apollo, once home to a legendary oracle. This extensive mountainside archaeological complex contains the remains of the sanctuaries of Apollo and Athena Pronaia, as well as an ancient stadium and theater. There’s something in the air of Delphi which brings in sense of calm and peace. It is cloudy in Delphi throughout the year. You must visit Delphi on trip to Greece.
On the scheduled day, we were picked up from our hotel at Athens at 8:00am. After one hour of the remaining pick-ups, the bus left the city skirts, heading towards our first site Delphi. From here on the window views, winding roads and our guide’s (Maria) voice gave us relentless company.A little outside Athens, we were passing by The famous town of Marathon and our guide started relating the battle won against Persians there in 490BC. And to communicate the triumph at the capital, a greek soldier ran approximately 40KMs from Marathon to Athen centre. Which apparently inspires the modern olympic sport.Another 50 kms, we were crossing by the town of Thebes and Maria pours out the mythology of Oedipus, a famous Greek mythology. And likewise every 20-30 kms, one after another many more such stories came pouring out.I was listening to it all with a, light sleep, when we halted for tea break around 10:30AM. 20 mins past, we were on the drive again and found ourselves climbing uphill. Around 12:00 we were crossing a cute little hilly village Arachova.