Archaeological Site of Delphi



  • Name of site:  Delphi
  • Location: Greece
  • Year Added to World Heritage Site: 1987
  • Criteria Nominated for: (i) – to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius; (ii) – to exhibit an important interchange of human values over time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design; (iii) – to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared; (iv) – to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates significant stages in human history; (vi) – and to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works or outstanding universal significance.
  • Total Number of Cultural/Mixed-Heritage Sites Located in Greece: 17

Basic Archaeological Site Information:

  • Size of Site:  Property – 51 ha; Buffer Zone –  14,314 ha
  • Time Period Site Represents: 6th century B.C.
  • Cultural Period: Mycenaean Period
  • Cultural Group: Ancient Greeks

Archeological Summary:

The archaeological site of Delphi was once the sanctuary of Apollo’s oracle.  It held a stadium for an Olympic-like series of games called the Pythian Games.  In the center of the sanctuary was the Temple of Apollo.  Delphi also was home to a Grecian theatre, which at one point held thousands of spectators.

As a polytheistic culture, Apollo was only one of many gods that were worshiped in such an elaborate manner.  The Ancient Greeks believed that everything was determined by these gods and their fates.  In these ancient times, the Greeks did not make any major decisions without consulting with Apollo’s oracle.  An example of these decisions was that a colony of Peoples could not be founded near the Mediterranean without the consent of the sanctuary.

The sanctuary of Delphi had a huge significance on the heritage of the world.  As it grew, Delphi became a leader in fine art and architecture.  On the few days amongst the year that the public could visit, artists would go home with this pan-Hellenic culture therefore spreading the culture throughout Greece and surrounding areas.  Amongst the ruins of Delphi, many sculptures and artifacts were found, adding to the knowledge of how the Ancient Greeks lived.  Many of these sculptures that were found were of historic events and were brought to the temple as gifts; this helped archaeologists grasp a better sense of history as well.  At the moment, there are no threats to the archaeological site of Delphi.

Additional Information:

  • The legend of Delphi states that Apollo defeated the “Python-dragon” and won the hills of Delphi as his sacred ground. 
  • When the Romans overtook the sanctuary in 191 B.C., the treasures found there were used to finance Rome’s siege of Athens.  A few years later, the sanctuary was destroyed by the Thracian Maedi and its flame that had been burning for centuries was extinguished.  The oracle gradually lost its influence once Christianity had replaced it.


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2 Responses to Archaeological Site of Delphi

  1. Elisa says:

    I have used your website for an assignment and found it as a fantastic source, though I need to know when you created it or last viewed it for my bibliography! Please help me! I thankyou very much, and I will recommend this site to many other people!!

    • Megan M. says:

      Thanks Elisa, glad it was helpful! The date the post was made is listed. You can find the date each entry was posted under the title of that post. As for last viewed – I believe you are supposed to say when YOU last viewed it, so if we changed it your instructor would see that in the posting data and know you used an earlier version. Hope that helps.

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