I will dare to say we saw one of the most stunning parts of Greece today. We began our day loading the bus at 8 a.m., and ventured northwest of Athens. After 3 hours in a bus with a pitstop for cheese pies and coffee, we arrived in Delphi.
Delphi today is a small town, but in ancient times was strictly a sanctuary, or place of worship. The ruins we saw were slim, but there were remnants from the Roman, Greek and Christian Byzantine time. Since Delphi was only a sanctuary in ancient times, the only buildings that used to be were temples.
The ancient Greek myth of Delphi focuses on the Greek god, Apollo. According the the myth, Apollo rode on a dolphin to this sanctuary, which is why it is called Delphi (short for "dolphin" in Greek). Delphi was famous for its temple that contained the oracle with a hot spring. Inside this temple stood the priestess, who would inhale the steam from the hot spring after chewing on leaves, and the priest that was present would interpret what she was expressing due to her hallucinations. People from all over Greece would come to Delphi because they believed this priestess' words would tell their futures.
Although this site does not have biblical background (other than Acts 16 with the psychic Paul encountered from Delphi), the Greek mythology of Delphi was intriguing - we have more in common with the people who were traveling to Delphi than we initially realize. In these ancient times, all these people were after the knowledge of what the future holds. What is one of the most common answers humans seek? What the future looks like. We may seek this answer in a different manner, but ultimately, we are all after the same thing.
We had some extra time to explore the ruins after our tour. At the very top of the mountain is a stadium, which is the best preserved stadium in Greece. Not only was Delphi a meeting place for religious purposes, but also for political, artistic and even sports purposes. The stadium we discovered was home to many sports, such as chariot racing and wrestling. Also, during our extra time to explore the ruins, we ran into students from MTSU (Middle Tennessee State University)...talk about a small world.
After our time at the ruins, we went to the Museum of Delphi, which contains statues from the fourth, fifth and sixth century. We then traveled 3 hours back to Athens through the breathtaking mountains.
It was another amazing day journeying in the biblical world.