Delphi is located on a plateau on the slope of Mount Parnassus in Greece adjacent to the Sanctuary of Apollo which was the site of the ancient Apollonian Oracle. This semi circular spur is known as Phaedriades and it overlooks the Pleistos Valley. The town of Delphi was once called Kastri used to lie above the ruins of the sacred compound. It was built around a Castalian spring and was revered throughout the Greek world and known as the site of the omphalos stone which was the center of the universe. Delphi is best known for the Sanctuary of Apollo. In the last quarter of the eighth century BC there was an increase in the artifacts found at the settlement sight in Delphi. Neither the range of objects nor the presence of prestigious dedications proves that Delphi was the focus of attention for worshippers of a wide range, but the strong representation of high value goods are found in no other main land sanctuary certainly backs up that view.
Dating back to 1400 BC, the oracle at Delphi was the most important shrine in all of Greece and in theory all Greeks respected its independence. People came from all over Greece and beyond to have there questions about the future answered by the Pythia who was the priestess of Apollo. And, her answers were usually cryptic could determine everything from when a farmer planted his seeds to when an empire planned war
The Pythia a role that was taken over by many women after 1400 BC to 381 AD was the medium through which the God Apollo spoke. Word of the Oracle of Delphi spread fast like lightening. After the takeover of the followers of Apollo people traveled to Delphi not just from other parts of Greece but also from Asia Minor, Egypt, and Italy for private consultations. The economy boomed because of the number of people making the pilgrimage. The Temple was the very and center of the shrine which was the seat of the Oracle. During the French Evacuation a pool that was connected to an aqueduct was discovered between the Treasury of the Athenians and a portico. This pool went under the temple. Perhaps that is were the Oracle ritually bathed. The Pythia was knowledgeable in many areas such as history, religion, geography, politics, mathematics, philosophy, and much more. She uttered advice on how and where to build cities which laws to incorporate, and which prayers to utter. Her predictions were very often oddly phrased which caused many people to misinterpret her advice.
Arguments over the correct interpretation of the Oracle of Delphi were common but the oracle was always happy to give another prophecy if more gold was provided. A good example was the famous incident just before the Battle of Salamis when the Pythia first predicted doom and then predicted that a wooden wall that was seen as Athenian ships would save them.
The legends that surround the oracle of Delphi were so tightly intertwined with history that getting an accurate picture is impossible. According to legend, Plutarch who was a priest at the Temple of Apollo attributed Pythia's prophetic powers to vapors. Other accounts might have suggested that the vapors came from a chasm in the ground. A four year study of the area in the vicinity of the shrine is causing archaeologists and other authorities to revisit the notion that intoxicating fumes loosened the lips of the Pythia. Be that as it may, the site of the oracle of Delphi still attracts thousands of visitors year after year.