The ORACOLE OF DELPHI is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Situated at the foot of Mt Parnassos, Delphi (or Delfi) was Apollo’s most sacred sanctuary. Ancient Greeks considered it the centre of the Earth (omphalos).
Delphi was the House of the ancient Oracle dedicated to Apollo. In a room dug under the temple lived priestess Pythia, the famous Oracle of Delphi who communicated with Apollo in a trance state. The words she uttered in this state were then interpreted by priests, who handed the interpretation to those who came seeking to learn about their destiny. Before asking for Pythia’s help, people made offerings to the god, in hope of a favourable answer.
The Oracle of Delphi was so famous that it was consulted even by the great personalities of ancient times – Alexander the Great himself is said to have come here. The time of glory of the the Oracle stretches over half a millenium, from 700 and 200 BC.
Legend has it that Apollo’s temple was erected on the nest of Python, the huge reptile killed by Apollo on Mt Parnassos when he was still a child. To honour this victory, the Pythian Games were inaugurated in Delphi in the 6th century BC. Apollo himself presented then the gift of prophecy to a temple priestess. Coming to Delphi from the North, Apollo is said to have stopped in Tempe to pick laurels, his sacred plant. To honour him, winners of the Pythian Games were adorned with a crown of laurels picked in Tempe. The name of the plant (daphne) is said to have given the place its name.
To this day, Delphi remains a place ladden with mystery, magic and resonance, symbolism and significance.