Our trip to the interior started with an amazing tour of the ruins in Delphi where we experienced the wonders of the ancient renowned Oracle of Delphi.
The row of Ionic columns are made from Parian marble — priceless material in ancient times, shipped and then hauled to the side of this mountain as a testament to the glory of the Athens polis.
The Delphi site lay at the side of Mount Parnassus, a landmark mountain mentioned in the earliest of Greek writings, including in Homer’s Iliad. The ancient site of Delphi was considered the navel of the Earth in ancient times.
The columns and most of the base of the Sanctuary of Apollo remain — constructed during the 7th century BC. Remarkably these ruins were first discovered in 1892 and excavated in the early 1900s.
The Treasury of the Athenians dates to 6th century BC. This is where offerings to the Oracle were stored and guarded.
The ancient theater of Delphi dates 4th century BC.
The ancient stadium was the site of the Pythian games and the Panhellenic Games, which were held every four years (beginning in the year 582 BC)…
… and the seats and stone walls are the original stadium built in the hill above the Temple of Apollo in the 5th century BC.
The museum at Delphi is a must see – and in it one views a massive statue of the Sphinx which would have stood guard in Delphi. In Greek mythology the Sphinx is a female monster with the body of a lion and eagles wings, and the head and breasts of a woman.
The village of Delphi (pop. 2,373) is very picturesque and boasts interesting retail and great tavernas with most memorable views.
Delphi had vast valley views around it. We thoroughly enjoyed our overnight stay here.
In Delphi David bought a chess set that features ancient Greek warriors. A prized keepsake from the trip!
The next stop in our interior trip was Kalambaka, where we stared up at ancient monasteries first built in the 13th century. For centuries the mountaintops and the hidden mountainside caves in this region hosted religious followers as well as anti-social hermits. At one time there were as many as 44 holy monasteries and hermitages in Meterora.
There are six remaining monasteries on the Holy rocks of Meteora. We were fortunate to visit three of them: St. Stephan (1350 AD), Holy Trinity (1362 AD) and St. Barbara (1527 AD).
It is truly awesome to see these beautiful structures built atop of mountain formations jutting thousands of feet out of the ground.
Look closely in this photo and you will see a wooden ladder. Until the 1920s when stairs were first carved into the mountainsides, the only way to access the monasteries was to be hauled up by rope and then climb in by ladder.
Each of the monasteries were magnificent…
Each had churches and chapels and living quarters.
Looking down from a monastery onto Kalambaka….
… and looking up to the same monastery from the streets of the village below. (You can see the rooftop of the monastery on the rock to the right.)
Our coach trip also made a stop at the Leonidas Monument, which commemorates a lengendary Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. In that Greek-Persian conflict a small band of 300 Spartan soldiers fiercely held off a huge Persian army of hundreds of thousands for three days, allowing Greek armies to assemble and successfully defend the polis of Athens from the Persian assault.
Back to the menu: Our Family Odyssey to Greece
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