TEMPLE OF APOLLO ON KOLONA HILL

On the hill of Kolona, overlooking the sea, stands the last sandstone pillar of Apollo’s temple. Delphinios, or the Delphinian Apollo was believed to protect sailors from the mischevious ways of Poseidon and others, mortals included.

Apollo earned his epithet, Delphinios, when he slew the giant serpent, Python at Krisa (possibly also known at the time as Pythos). The serpent was there to protect the omphalos, or navel of Gaia, now commonly referred to as the navel of the world. Krisa (or possibly Pythos), was henceforth known as Delphi. I believe the site was known as Krisa from about 1400 bce (Mycenaean times) up until its rededication by the Greeks around 800 bce. Delphinios roughly translates to English as “the womb”, no doubt in reference to the omphalos of Gaia.

The Temple of Delphinian Apollo on Kolona was, sadly, torn down by Byzantine iconoclasts. And while I was aware of this prior to visiting the site in 2016, there was one thing not mentioned online or on the pamphlets I picked up at the nearby museum; the wall had been built to protect against sea attacks in later centuries. Upon closer observation, my friend Loukas noticed the blocks used in the wall had ancient Greek inscriptions carved into them. Oddly, some were upside-down.

He realized in that moment that many of the blocks used were tombstones of sorts, taken from some nearby desecrated graveyard. The video below captures the moment of this realization..