Delphi Part I: Pythian Apollo

Charles Seltman visits the Holiest Place of the Greeks. Part I of a two part series. Second part can be read here.

On a shelf of land, stony and sloping, was built the Sanctuary of Delphi beside the Castalian Spring. Looking from the shelf to the south-west, you see the distant Gulf of Corinth and some of the mountains of North Arcadia beyond. Below the shelf is a drop of nearly 2,000 feet into the deep and narrow gorge of the river Pleistos. You may descend with difficulty, ford the river, and climb more easily the south side of the gorge in order to get, looking northwards, the best view of the ancient sanctuary and the modern village of Kastri beside it. Then you see the cliffs towering behind Delphi to the height of another 2,000 feet. Later, the ascent of those same cliffs having been made by a rock-track called “the Bad Stair”, the traveller comes on to a high undulating plain at about 4,000 feet above sea-level. There are patches of forest, small tarns, meadows covered with the perfect wild-flowers of a Greek spring and early summer; and beyond and over all this, to the east, there rises the great snow-capped dome of Pamassos yet another 4,000 feet above the plain on which it stands.

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