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By Nick Nikolis
There are so many things to do and see in Delphi that it will amaze even the most experienced traveler. The god Apollo had his sacred precinct located in Delphi, which was called the 'Pan-Hellenic Sanctuary'. Beginning in 586 B.C. the best athletes from the surrounding areas would come every four years to compete in the Pythian Games. These games were the forerunner of the modern-day Olympic Games. The original stadiums have been uncovered and preserved so they become the most fascinating thing to see when in Delphi Greece.
The location of Delphi Stadium and the ruins of Apollo's temple offer views of the valley that will literally take the observers breath away. It is no wonder the 'gods' chose this spot, which they considered to be the center of the Earth, as their primary sanctuary.
The most famous spectacle at this location is a set of five pillars. These are the remains of Apollo's temple. The pillars almost resemble a gazebo, but in actuality they are the last remaining corner section of the large temple area. The entire site has been so painstakingly preserved that it almost feels like the visitor is walking into the past as if they were going through a door from one realm into another.
When putting the dimensions of these pillars into the context of human size Apollo must have been rather large. Their size reminds one of the Hebrew Torah when it says, "and their were giants in the earth in those days". The ancient Sumerians told of giants in their traditions too. One look at these temple ruins and it makes the spectator wonder if the tales about giant gods on earth were true. Nevertheless, these ancient ruins should be number one on the traveler's list of things to do and see when in Delphi. This is because they are the experience of a lifetime.
Moving forward in time to the Byzantine era, the Osios Loukas Monastery, also known as the Greek Orthodox Byzantine Monastery of 1011 A.D., is another spectacular example of ancient archaeology. Anyone that has been remotely exposed to modern building methods will take one look of this Monastery and wonder how they were able to build it with the tools that were available to them at that time. This octagon shaped Byzantine structure is de facto the benchmark of all medieval church designs. It remains in excellent condition today and contains hundreds, if not thousands of well-preserved artifacts and art.
The Delphi Museum should be next in line to do and see in Delphi. Some of the artifacts it contains will both amaze and educate the onlooker. Take for instance the Omphalos Of The Earth display. The word Omphalos means 'center'. This sacred stone was found at the Temple of Apollo and was supposedly only viewed by priests and priestess with specific rights to access to the chamber where is was located in. Then, there is the Kouros Statues of the Archaic Period. The legend says two young boys, Kleovis and Biton, pulled their mother on her chariot for distance of 8 km. They later died that night in their sleep. Nevertheless, the boys got their mother to her destination safely and on time.
One of the most remarkable items at the Delphi Museum is a sphinx. The large Sphinx of Naxos sits on top of an iconic column and closely resembles the Sphinx of Egypt. A half man half lion creature was also mentioned throughout Sumerian history. Nara-Simha was half man half lion with the Sumerian god in Enil. Likewise, the Sumerians also mention other lesser gods such as Enkidu. He had the upper body of a man but the lower hindquarters of a bull. Now we have the Greek Sphinx of Naxos, The Egyptian Sphinx of Egypt, and the stories of Nara-Simha of Sumer. They are from separate cultures, spanning three different points in history, and they all mention god-like creatures that were part beast and part human. Anyone that finds ancient history fascinating will want to see the Delphi Museum in Greece.
Next in line on the trip should be the Oracle. There been many Oracle's spanning the ages, such as the Oracle of Rome, however the Greek Oracle at Delphi is the original. The legend says a young goat herder discovered the rift around 1400 B.C.. This is when he noticed his goats were disoriented on a hillside. It was later discovered the seeping gas would cause some to fall ill but cause others to have visions. Delphi became a financial Mecca due to this discovery. A huge industry ensued around the Oracle. Temples were built, virgin priestesses were trained, rituals were written, and blood sacrifices were performed. The temple ruins remain today and they become just another reason to take a holiday in Delphi. The Oracle temples will truly amaze the tourist.
Parnassus, the birthplace of Pegasus, is a mountain that towers over the city of Delphi. Today that mountain's slopes are home to some of the most prized ski resorts in that part of the world. The city of Delphi is one of the most modern cities in the region. The cocktail bars stay open late at night while the restaurants serve indigenous Greek family recipes. A traveler can say they had the best of both worlds when they went to Delphi. They can see a Greek tragedy in an ancient Coliseum during the day, and then have some of the best nightlife in the world at night. All while staying at world class accommodations.
Nick Nikolis is writing about Self help, Business, Hospitality Industry and destinations. Visiting Delphi Greece? Find here Delphi Hotels Greece, and Delphi Greece.
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