Delphi: A Cyclist’s View

Delphi was the religious and spiritual centre of the Ancient Greek World. In the 11th to 9th century BC, the cult of Apollo became established here. But what is truly amazing about the place is its location, at 600m perched on the side of a mountain. The feat of getting the materials, some of which are even from islands in the Aegean, for the buildings to Delphi boggles the mind.

As a cyclist, the ride from the sea is only 15km but the last 8km are a major climb. Coming the other way from the interior of Greece requires passing through a 900m pass. So I assume they came from the sea. The modern day road bears witness to the enormity of the transportation challenge the Ancient Greeks had to overcome.

Yes there is only one road in this picture...

Yes there is only one road in this picture…

Delphi is at the “navel” point in the world, the meeting point of two eagles dispatched by Zeus from the ends of the universe. Because of this, the most important artifact is one of the least impressive: The Navel Stone.

The Navel Stone ... Obviously artistic freedom was in vogue

The Navel Stone …
Obviously artistic freedom was in vogue

The two most impressive buildings are The Temple of Apollo in the Sanctuary of Apollo, and the Temenos of Athena. Of course the most impressive object was an offering to Apollo: a Sphinx on a single column in the middle of the Temple of Apollo.

Temple of Apollo

Temple of Apollo

Temenos of Athena Pronaia

Temenos of Athena Pronaia

The Sphinx, now safe in the museum.

The Sphinx, now safe in the museum.

Discretely un-labelled was a stone commemorating the first archeological dig of the site, by (mon dieu) a Frenchman!

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But for me the best view was back down the valley as the sunset, but then I always have been a softy for sunsets.

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Later from the balcony of our room

Later from the balcony of our room

C

3 responses to “Delphi: A Cyclist’s View

  1. Gorgeous. I felt the same mind-boggling awe when we went to Masada. Engineering marvels and sheer labor force under staggering conditions. Much of that knowledge is lost. Greatly enjoying your blogs!

  2. Superbes photos et commentaires fort instructifs ! Bonne continuation !

  3. Fantastic photos, and great blog!!

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