Honors Grecian and Turkish Odyssey - Day 6 - Delphi

Temple of Apollo at Delphi
View from above the Delphi Theater
Athenian Treasury at Delphi
After enjoying breakfast at our hotel, overlooking the mountains and the Gulf of Corinth, we headed to the Delphi archaeological site.  Cristiana referred to Delphi as the "spoiled child of archaeology" due to all of the discoveries made in Delphi.  As we entered through the vestibule, Cristiana told us that ancient Greeks considered Delphi the "center of the Earth" as Zeus had released two eagles to fly from opposite sides of the earth and they met in Delphi.  The omphalos stone we saw marked Delphi as the "navel" of the Earth.  We passed through the treasuries of Delphi, admiring the Treasury of Athens which was built to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Marathon.  We then passed by the Sibyl Rock, supposed site of the first prophecies, and the irregular polygonal Lesbian-style wall on our way to the Temple of Apollo, built in the 4th century BC.  The Oracle of Delphi would sit on a tripod seat in the basement under the Temple of Apollo, making ambiguous prophecies that needed interpretation.  Cristiana stated that she often advises visitors to walk/crawl through the small passageway under the Temple of Apollo toward where the Oracle sat, but she suggested against it when we were visiting as there may be snakes.  After Naomi conjured her inner Indiana Jones by saying "Why did it have to be snakes?" some of the students and I decided we would risk an unwanted encounter with a viper to traverse the passage.  Luckily, we encountered no snakes, but unfortunately the Oracle was nowhere to be seen either.  Continuing up the mountainside, we stopped at the  5000-seat theater overlooking the Temple of Apollo on our way to the ancient stadium, site of the Delphics (i.e. Delphi Olympics).  Returning to the entrance, we traveled down the modern path to the Delphi Archaeological Museum.  Inside the museum, we encountered the Sphinx of Naxos and the twins Kleobis and Biton, as Cristiana relayed their legendary tale.  Other highlights included the bronze incense-burner, the statue of Antinous and the Charioteer of Delphi.  I found the eyes of the Charioteer of Delphi to be somewhat eerie, due to how realistic they appeared, including the detailed eyelashes.  After leaving the museum, we stopped at the Castalian Spring for one last breathtaking view of the mountainous region before departing for Kalambaka.  With an early arrival at Hotel Orfeus in Kalambaka, we had some time to explore Meteora before our evening dinner, but these pictures and stories will be in tomorrow's post.
Charioteer of Delphi
Sphinx of Naxos


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