From the World Heritage inscription for the Archaeological Site of Delphi:
The layout of Delphi is a unique artistic achievement. Mount Parnassus is a masterpiece where a series of monuments were built whose modular elements – terraces, temples, treasuries, etc. – combine to form a strong expression of the physical and moral values of a site which may be described as magical. Situated in a magnificent natural setting which is still intact, it is an outstanding example of a great Pan-Hellenic sanctuary.
During the Mycenaean period, the female deity of Earth was worshipped in the small settlement of Delphi, Greece. The development of the sanctuary and oracle were to begin in the 8th century BC with the establishment of the cult of Apollo. Under the protection and administration of the Amphictyony, the sanctuary continued to be autonomous after the First Sacred War and, as a result, increased its Pan-Hellenic religious and political influence. The Pythian Games were reorganized, the sanctuary was enlarged, and it was enriched with fine buildings, statues, and other offerings. In the 3rd century BC it came under the domination of the Aetolians and later, in 191 BC, was conquered by the Romans. During the Roman period, the site was plundered on occasions, but it was also favoured by some of the Emperors. With the spread of Christianity, the sanctuary lost its religious meaning and was closed down by Theodosius the Great.
Along with the Acropolis in Athens, the Archaeological Site of Delphi is probably the best known ancient Greek site in the world. Stories of the Oracle of Delphi permeate stories from that era and when you visit the site, you can see why the ancient Greeks considered it special.
Situated on a hillside, Delphi has an incredible view of the surrounding mountains, valley and the nearby coast. You can easily see why the ancient thought it to be a special place when you visit.
The nearby town of Delphi is more of less built around tourism, so it is an easy place to visit and there is a decent tourism infrastructure. It is about a 2-hour drive from Athens, so it is possible to visit on a day trip. I’d estimate a proper visit of the site to take a least 2 hours, which will include a fair amount of walking up and downhills.
View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greece.
View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.