At the foot of Mount Parnassos, within the angle formed by the twin rocks of the Phaedriades, lies the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, which had the most famous oracle of ancient Greece. Delphi was regarded as the centre of the world.
The archaeological site of Delphi includes two sanctuaries, dedicated to Apollo and Athena, and other buildings, mostly intended for sports. Visitors arriving from Athens first encountered the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia – that is, Athena who is before the temple of Apollo.
Outside its walls spread the settlement of Delphi. Within the walls were the famous Tholos, the symbol of Delphi today, and the remains of three temples dedicated to the goddess.
To the northwest of the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia lay the gymnasium, a place for exercise and learning, the palaestra and the baths. Further up the slope was the Castalian spring, the sacred spring of Delphi, were travellers quenched their thirst after a long voyage and purified themselves before consulting the oracle. The central, most important part of the site was the sanctuary of Apollo, which was surrounded by the usual peribolos, or enclosure wall, with a main gate at its southeast corner.
From here visitors entered the Sacred Way, the street that led to the temple of Apollo with its famous adyton, where Pythia delivered her oracles. The imposing temple of Apollo dominated the sanctuary from atop a large terrace supported by a remarkable polygonal wall. In front of its entrance visitors could admire a series of impressive votive monuments dedicated mostly by wealthy individuals.
Above the temple is the theatre where the theatrical and musical contests of the Pythian Games took place, while even higher up the slope, beyond the sacred enclosure, lies the stadium where the athletic contests were held.
Outside and around the two sanctuaries are the remains of the settlement and cemeteries of Delphi, which developed mainly in the Classical and Roman period.