I wanted to stay in Athens. To explore all of it. Remember, we were doing this Italy/Greece trip from Turkey. Everything here felt clean, fresh, and wonderful! However, our tour included yet another site I knew little about. Delphi. Sure I had heard of it and knew it was important, but I didn’t remember all of the details. That happens when you leave high school. I was thankful that the guide gave us such a lengthy refresher regarding the history of the area. Have you ever been to Delphi? Let’s take a moment of silence for this view.
Up bounced our bus along the narrow switchback road, winding through villages built on cliffs.
The significance of Delphi did not hit me all at once. The Oracle was sought here, at this site that dates back to the Neolithic period. These structures are mostly from 6th Century B.C. The Pythian games were held here. Each detail about this most important ancient city was filled with old mystery. As I listened to the guide, I tuned out and was entranced by the beauty of the area as I looked down and out upon the Temple of Apollo. This is one of my favorite photos I have taken because it captures how I felt-small in the mountains on the stage of a deep history.
The Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia was small and simple, where the Oracle would be consulted. It is said that there is some sort of natural gas under this sanctuary, attributing to the visions and advice given.
The original wall is still up-the ancients knew how to build structures that would outlast time, and this is just one more example.
I know you were wondering…what does any of this this have to do with the Earth’s belly button? Well here we are propped up against it! The omphalos (Greek for navel) stone in Delphi marks the place Zeus had declared to be the center of the world, Earth’s belly button. I love Greek mythology.
A stop by the very cool Delphi Museum, and we were on our way back to Athens, with just a quick stop in a village for lunch (at a bakery).