Sunday, January 23, 2011

Athens, Day 2: Delphi

We had the same tour guide Affie on our two-hour trip to Delphi, the site of the temple to Apollo, the messenger god. It was amazing to see the city surrounded by mountains and eventually see one with some snow on it. Affie said the winter had been mild compared to previous ones so we weren’t seeing the usual amount of snow.
We had a quick break where we got a snack and Ramon and I chose this enormous cookie-type thing that ended up reminding me of a Moon Pie! Getting to Delphi took us through a small village – really quaint and I wished we had been able to spend more time there on the way back – where there is only one road in and out and the traffic presents a problem. Delphi is set in the mountains and the ruins were excavated in the 19th century by French archaeologists.It was imposing enough seeing the ruins but that they are set into the middle of this mountain is even more so.
This is a model of what Delphi looked like way back when:This site was a place where on the 7th of every month, people ventured to the temple to get an oracle. They’d walk up this pediment and present thei question to a priest who would give it to a woman priestess. She would enter into a lower chamber to the right of these ruins where gasses coming out of the ground gave her hallucenations and she would give her prophecy. Turns out crystals tested from this site showed some methamphetamene so it was your earliest meth lab. I'm just sayin' ...
Situated where the statue of Apollo was now grows a cedar tree so you get the idea of how large the statue was.This omphalus symbolized the center of the earth where Zeus released two eagles and the point where they met was the center. Ramon says I have a thing for doorways:There was a sacrificial altar to Apollo given by Syrians so they would have first dibs during oracle day. I mean there's just one day out of the whole month so they were on to something. And close to it were carefully inlaid rocks where the names of freed slaves were written, symbolizing the freedom.Lead had been poured where statues were to be placed so in case of an earthquake, the statues wouldn't fall.After spending some time among the ruins, we went into the Delphi museum to see statues recovered from the site and that was really impressive. This is a sphinx:This is a bull made of silver recovered in the dig:I believe this statue is Socrates but behind it is a picture of the excavation of Delphi:As a group, we had lunch and our table included a couple from Sydney, a Navy guy from Ohio, and a family from Brazil. It was a long day touring but it was my favorite from our time in Athens.

No comments:

Post a Comment