The Temple of Apollo

The most important of the ruins that exists in the area is the Sanctuary of Apollo, with its impressive Doric style Temple of Apollo on the Southern part of the Parnassus Mountain. A winding road, the Sacred Way led to the impressive Temple of Apollo that stood elevated at a central position overlooking the shrine. The temple had six columns at the end and fifteen columns on the sides. In the adyton (a sacred place where the public was forbidden to enter) of this temple, Pythia seated on the tripod, spoke the prophetic words of the gods, and only the priests who interpreted the Pythia’s words were allowed to enter this area.

The temple has been built according to legend six times, the first was made of laurel branches, the second from beeswax and feathers, the third from bronze while the fourth was made of stone but was destroyed by a fire in 548 B.C. It was again rebuilt in 510 B.C by the Alkmaeonidae noble family of Athens, with contributions collected from all over Greece and also from non-Greek areas, thus it became known as the “Temple of Alkmaeonidae” to honour the Athenian family.

In 373 B.C an earthquake destroyed the temple, and the existing temple was not completed until the end of the Third Sacred War in 330 B.C.

The only part of the Temple surviving today is the foundations along with several Doric columns made of porous stone and limestone, an easily erodible material, but even with this difficulty the temple has been partially restored now.