Athens to Delphi Tour
A pilgrimage to the navel of the earth: The shrine and Apollos oracle
A pilgrimage to the navel of the earth: The shrine and Apollos oracle
Pilgrimage to the “Navel of the Earth”; the shrine and Apollo’s oracle! There is, probably, no other place in Ancient Greece that exudes such intense spiritual energy as Delphi, with the shrine of Apollo and the oracle. At the foot of Mount Parnassos, within the angle which is formed by the twin cliffs, known as the Phaedriadhes (“the Bright Ones”), in the valley of Phocis, lies the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, the religious centre and symbol of unity of the ancient Greek world. In antiquity, Delphi was regarded as the center of the world. According to mythology, when Zeus, the father of the 12 Olympian Gods, sought to find the center of his "mother Earth" (Gi, Gea, or Gaia), he launched two eagles from the two ends of the world, the EEast and West. Leaving at the same time and flying at equal speed, the eagles’ path crossed above the area of Delphi. From that point, Zeus threw a stone from the sky and marked the “omphalos”, centre of the earth or “navel of Gaia”, founding the Delphi Oracle, which was thereafter dedicated to the earth-goddess Gaia. The ancient Greeks believed that the oracle was guarded by Python, a monstrous dragon-serpent set by Gaea (the Earth). Apollo killed his chthonic enemy Python after the latter’s attempt to rape his mother Leto, while she was pregnant with Apollo and Artemis. Thereafter, the priestess of the oracle at Delphi got the title “Pythia“.The Oracle exerted considerable influence throughout the Greek world and she was consulted before all major undertakings: wars, the founding of colonies and so forth. Delphi was also the site of the Pythian Games (Greek: Πύθια; also Delphic Games), which were established in commemoration of Apollo’s victory. They were one of the 4 Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece and forerunner of the modern Games. They were held two years after (and thus also two years before) each Olympic Games and between each Nemean and Isthmian Games. However, apart from sports, they also featured competitions for art and dance. The historical timeframe of the Pythian Games starts in 582 BC, when the administration of the Games was handed over to the Delphic Amphictyony. The winners at Delphi were presented with a bay laurel (stephanos), which was ceremonially cut from a tree by a boy who re-enacted the slaying of the Python. In the inner Hestia ("hearth") of the Temple of Apollo, an eternal flame burned. After the battle of Plataea in 479 BC, which marked the end of the Persian Wars, the Greek cities extinguished their fires and brought new fire from the hearth in Delphi; in the foundation stories of several Greek colonies, the founding colonists were first dedicated at Delphi. The sanctuary was the center of the Amphictyonic League, an ancient association of twelve tribes of Thessaly and Sterea Ellada (south-central Greece), with initially religious and later political significance. The oracle is thought to have existed since the dawn of time. Indeed, it was believed to have successfully predicted events related to the cataclysm of Deucalion, the Argonaut's expedition and the Trojan War; more certain are the consultations over the founding of the Greek colonies. Between the 6th and4rth c. BC, the Delphic oracle, which was regarded as the most trustworthy, was at its peak. It was delivered by Pythia, the priestess and interpreted by the priests of Apollo. Cities, rulers and ordinary individuals alike consulted the oracle, expressing their gratitude with great gifts and spreading its fame around the world. It was the oracle's fame and prestige that caused two Sacred Wars in the middle of the 5th and 4rth C. BC. In 339 BC, king Philip of Macedonia interfered against the Amphictyonic alliance when the Krissans trespassed on Apollo's sacred grounds. Philip punished the Krissans and, in 338 c. BC defeated the combined armies of the Athenians and the Spartans, thus becoming the dominant force in Greek affairs. The sanctuary of Delphi fell into Roman hands in 191 BC and was stripped of its treasures by General Sulla in 86 BC. Despite some building restorations by the Romans, over the next few centuries the Oracle of Delphi lost its influence and its spiritual fire gradually extinguished, as Apollo's worship was replaced by a new religion imported from the East: Christianity. Some of the most prominent edifices on the sacred slopes of Delphi are the Temple of Apollo, the Ancient Theater with a spectacular view of the entire sanctuary, the Stadium, the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia with the Tholos, Castalia spring and the various treasuries that adorn the sacred way. The archaeological Museum on the site contains extraordinary artifacts from the excavations in Delphi.
Our tour packages don’t include a professional licensed tour guide, in order to be more affordable to our clients. However your driver will provide substantial & enough information for all the locations that you'll visit, within the car or outside the sites.
Notice that you could choose from the below choices.
a/ You can have your driver - tour Leader to accompany you. ( No additional cost)
b/ We can provide upon request a Professional tour guide.
c/ For tours that are taking place outside Athens we can always book a local tour guide in each place of visit , upon your request.
Whatever your choice might be, kindly send your request and we will inform you of the additional cost if that exists!
In case you'd like to be picked up by us at Athens International Airport "El Venizelos", we offer you transportation in significantly better price.
Our representative will welcome you at the Arrival Hall, holding a sign with your name written on it ,will help you with your luggage and escort you to the car.
|Itinerary [total duration 9 hours approx.] Suggested start time: Morning/Afternoon|
Car Type: For your chauffeured transportation, we provide fully air-conditioned vehicles that meet all technical and security standards. Depending on the number of participants, you can choose:
a/ Sedan- type vehicle, new Octavia 7 or Mercedes, capacity 1 to 4 pax (depending on availability)
b/ Mini Van, capacity 4 to 8 pax (depending on availability)
c/ SUV- type vehicle, capacity 1 to 5 pax (depending on availability)
Notes: 1) Child safety seats available upon request 2) Luggage restrictions may apply
|Activity level: Moderate to hard|
|Dress Code: During the summer months, a hat and light colored garments are required for this tour.|
|Max Group Size: 12-14 persons|
Should you choose this tour. we suggest you combine it with the following two options: a) Delphi and Hosios Lukas monastery. Duration: 11Hours b) Delphi and Thermopylae. Duration: 10-11½ hours
The city state of Thebes acquired its fame and power after the end of the Peloponnesian war, which established Thebes as the most powerful city-state in Greece. Due to its strong military role, it became a key player in Ancient Greece. The Sacred Band of Thebes was the elit force of the Theban army led by the charismatic general Pelopidas. General Epaminondas, the most successful general Thebes had ever had and one of Greece’s finest ever commanders, employed the most innovative and devastating pre-meditated military strategy . On July 6, 371 BC, the Theban heavy infantry defeated the Spartans at Leuctra in Boeotia, smashed Sparta’s military invincibility and achieved hegemony in Greece. This battle also established Epaminondas as a military genius. There are three precepts carved into the Temple at Delphi: γνῶθι σεαυτόν (gnōthi seautón = "know thyself"), μηδέν άγαν (mēdén ágan = " Nothing to excess") and Ἑγγύα πάρα δ'ἄτη (eggýa pára d'atē = " A pledge comes from madness"). In antiquity, the origin of these phrases was attributed to one or more of the Seven Sages of Greece by authors such as Solon, Plato,Pausanias, Thales of Miletus. The worship of Apollo as the god of light, harmony and order was established between the 11th and 9th centuries. Slowly, over the next five centuries, the sanctuary grew in size and importance. During the 8th c. BC Delphi became internationally known for the Oracular powers of Pythia--the priestess who sat on a tripod, inhaled ethylene gasses and muttered incomprehensible words that foretold the future.