Ancient Delphi

Zeus released two eagles, East and West, to locate the middle of the Earth's surface. Both landed at Delphi, from then on considered the navel of the universe. Delphi, where two subterranean fault lines intersect, is indeed an extraordinary place, with its dramatic mountain landscape and unusually cool tem-peratures. The Castalian Spring provides sweet, fresh water. Greeks conserved such special places by calling them sanctuaries and marking the territory as sacred.

Delphi became rich, not just because pilgrims came for prophecies but also because one of the Panhellenic festivals, the Pythian Games, took place there every four years. The games included track-and-field sports for men, as well as music contests in which women could compete. On the first day, the opening ceremonies featured a reenactment of Apollo slaying a snake called Pytho. Some think that this was the origin of Greek drama.