An early arrival into Delphi allowed us not only a park just outside the hotel but also enough daylight to take a photo from the balcony of the coastal town of Itea on the Gulf shores in the distance.
We got the low down on a decent restaurant for dinner at one of two taverna that were still open at this time of year. They did a fabulous job on the parcel of feta with an incredibly flavourful tomato jam, followed by lamb with lemon and their Delphi Salad. All of this was washed down with a fantastic wine from the Argyriou Winery which was owned by one of the diners we passed on the way in, so a local.
Next day we took our chances with the weather and visited Ancient Delphi, the museum and the Archaeological site. The pretty, hillside-strewn ruins of Delphi were in use for over 1500 years but from the 6th to the 4th century BC were the most active. The sanctuary was adorned with many buildings and dedications to Apollo erected by Greek city states. We followed the Sacred way toward the Temple of Apollo where I braved the rain sans umbrella for the photo shoot. The omphalosi or the navel stone, a symbol of the centre of the earth is still in place but many of the dedications, statues, monuments and treasuries that lined the Sacred way have since gone or are residing in the Museum. The winged creature and its post, most commonly known as the Sphinx of the Naxions is just one of the small items held in the Museum nearby.
The drizzle was pretty constant as we walked around and the ancient guttering seemed to have no trouble moving the water further down the hillside. We wandered down the road toward the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia where the remaining important buildings are the two temples dating from the 5th and 4th centuries and the Tholos which was built about 380 BC. In the museum there are rooms full of statues, dedications, trinkets, treasures and of course the Bronze statue of the Charioteer parts of the Horses and chariot and the base of the group with the votive inscription, Dedication by Polyzalos, the tyrant of Gela Sicily, for his victory in the Pythian Games 478 or 474 BC
There was a small exhibition in the foyer before you left that was about the reconstruction programme of the Ancient Hydraulis or the Water Organ based on the archaeological find of Dion.
From the literature;
‘The Hydraulis is the first keyboard instrument in history and forerunner of the Church Organ. Invented in the 3rd century, two detailed descriptions of its mechanism have survived in texts. In August 1992, during excavations at the Dionysus Villa in ancient Dion, the upper part of a Hydraulis consisting of a battery of bronze pipes and a horizontal metal base-plate with decorative motives was unearthed. In 1995 a research project was initiated for the reconstruction of the ancient Hydraulis. In May 1999 in Delphi the working replica of the ancient Hydraulis was presented.”