Remembering Delphi

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Remembering Delphi

The Journey to Then

There is a quiet relief on escaping the consistent rumble of motor bikes and plethora of Athenian footsteps on marble sidewalks dodging the out of beat, slowly dreamy-eyed tourist.

The road is empty and continuous, the windows in the car is open. From the corner of my eye is a blur of color and shapes; diversity of trees, plants, and flowers – no matter the knots in my hair; it is a welcome to breathe countryside oxygen.

 

And here we arrive at Delphi, one of Greece’s most sacred sites and if change and connection with gods, soul, and self is being sought – then on this mountaintop of mystery, scandal, and utter beauty – this is Zeus’ center of the world with Apollonian claim– this is where one could walk away changed and even more alive than before.

But only if you listen.

But only if you remember.

Kastri village before the excavations.

Kastri village before the excavations.

 

The Village Above Delphi

With the change of religion, onslaught of war, and devastating earthquakes, resources at Delphi dwindled. As she lost her fame, memory became legend.

It was during midevil times when the small village of Kastri formed over and around Delphi’s archaeological remains. As with many ancient sites, the locals intertwined their homes into the structures.

Kastri Village

Earthquakes

But Delphi is built on the spur of Mount Parnsassus. Her unique geographical position is unique but extremely dangerous. The site sits on an active fualtline with limestone cliffs jutting above, making the area prone to earthquakes, rockfalls and massive landslides. Kastri was destroyed many times but the locals would rebuild.

But as with everything within laws of time, the archeology of Delphi would literally fracture and sink, leaving future archaeologist to speculate about it’s location.

excavation

 

The Great Excavation

In 1860, the Germans figured out the location of Delphi. But in 1891 it was the French who were granted permission by the Greek government to excavate.

Before the excavation could begin, the village of Kastri would have to relocate. Understandably, the locals weren’t keen on abandoning their homes.

However fate or gods or nature or all three was at work – an earthquake violently brought the village down. The survivors of the village accepted a new village, west of the Delphi site.

Under the watchful eye of the Greek military, the French began what became known as the Great Excavation.

 

 

1894, workmen at Delphi unearthed a statue of Antinous, a favorite of Roman emperor Hadrian.

 

 

 

1894, excavation of a Kouros.

1894, excavation of a Kouros.

 

 

The discovery of the entrance of the Apollo Temple.

The discovery of the entrance of the Apollo Temple.

 

Remembering Delphi

It now has been some time since my last visit to Delphi – that day when the flowers were a blur.

The brain can be tricky but emotions are trustworthy, so when I close my eyes there is a feeling – a vibe – that releases forgotten memories.

Delphi

Delphi

 

The soft conversations between tourist is immensely interesting…there is something amazing about this place…magical…I feel like I could live here.

Tour guides are a drum above the whispers as they translate Greek inscriptions…know thy self…

 

Delphi has lit our imaginations on fire, and I wonder if the people here before us wondered about their ancestors – before Apollo, Delphi was a place of worship for the most loving goddess of all –Gaia.

 

Nestled in the middle of majestic mountains – it is to be in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by everything and nothing. It is the feeling of being at the center of the world.

 

Ancient Greeks believed Delphi was the center of the world. According to myth Zeus released two eagles in opposite directions– and they flew around the world and Delphi is where they met.

 

And now we venture into the Delphi Archaeological Museum..

 

GRATITUDE: For information about Kastri village and photos of the Great Excavation Odysseus , Greece Ancient and Modern , Dry Light , Greek Voyager , and thank you Theodoros Metallinos for kindly sharing your database of historic photography.

2 Responses to “Remembering Delphi

  • My own visit to Delphi was back in 1987 or 1988, and I took no photographs. Nor indeed did I in my youth have any notion that I should wish to recall any of it with a great deal more clarity decades later: I was not mature enough to contemplate such things yet. I did, however, have the good fortune of two very well-educated and beloved tour guides, an aunt and uncle, and nonetheless a couple of these photos do convey familiar impressions of the old memory.

    Good post, as usual.

    • Hi Virgil! Thank you for sharing your memories. You’re beloved tour guides sound like incredible people. From what I’ve read, it seems they have left a very soul-felt impact on you. It is a lovely gift to cherish 🙂

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