[Temple of Apollo, Inner Sanctum]
Slowly burning braziers in the four corners of this immense room send fitful shadows dancing across the rest of the otherwise cryptic inner shrine. A curtained wall sits behind an enormous altar upon a stepped dais, the Pythia's servants all languishing along its stone steps in some sort of spiritual euphoria. Low mutterings issue from behind the curtain, its flaps flanked by two very intense looking guards in loin cloths. A series of curtained alcoves run along the east and west walls of the temple. You also see a bronze scrying bowl sitting atop a marble column.

Delphi, the center of the universe, is situated on a plateau along the slopes of Mount Parnassus. It is said to be the center of the universe because of the Omphalos, the stone belly button of the world which thousands come to see every day. Our Delphi resembles the historical site in many ways, including placement of monuments and buildings and even the layout itself. Delphi is also the home of the Pythia, or Oracle, and an enormous temple dedicated to Apollo.

The shrine, however, was originally dedicated to Gaea and the word Delphi is in fact derived from delphus which is archaic for womb and shows its connection with the earth goddess. Apollo, however, came and destroyed Python, an enormous serpent and child of Gaea, and took the sanctuary as his own.

Next to the Omphalos, the Oracle is the biggest attraction in Delphi. She sits on a cauldron shaped rock known as the Sibyl atop a tripod and breathes in the volcanic vapors released by the nearby Castalian Spring. It is said these vapors brought forth the visions which she sang out to those seeking such, but they were generally puzzling and hard to interpret.

Many factions paid their respects to the Oracle upon receiving information that they felt helped them win battles and many statues and treasuries line the Sacred Way (the main road to the temple) as gifts to the Pythia. These dedications were often cases on one-upsmanship with cities trying to outdo each other or subtely poking fun at rivals through various means.

Our AoH Delphi contains these statues and treasuries, the Omphalos and the Temple complete with the Oracle, but it also draws on inspiration from a more modern source… Hollywood. If you look at the lifestyle in ancient Delphi, however, this comparison isn't really such a stretch. Replace our famous actors with their famous athletes, and you have what one might consider ancient Hollywood… right down to the exclusive restaurants where they all hang out.

To take this even further, it seems that Dysiliou Boulevard (on the west end of town) can be compared to the Sunset Strip. With shops like Aphrodite's of Delphi (Frederick's of Hollywood), Sacks Dysiliou Boulevard (Sax 5th Avenue) and Legmani's Studio (Armani) this would seem to be the case. Add in the Walk of the Stars with Laurel Crowns commemorating Actors, Philosophers and Athletes instead of movie stars and the Theater complete with footprints in the cement sidewalk out front and there really can be no doubt the inspiration.

There is a modern take on our Oracle, as well. While the Scrying Bowl may be more in tune with the ancient lore, the Oracle herself is defenitely future-tech. Once you step into an alcove for your visitation you are greeted with a disembodied voice and a pad of numbers. The voice goes on to tell you which numbers to press for which services and there is even an option to dial out to get in touch with the gods! Try dialing 555-ZAPU to see what we mean.

She has lived up to her name, however, and has provided us with many prophecies involving the warlord Drakontas who has taken over Piraeus, most of which were hard to interpret but came true in retrospect.

Delphi is also a popular venue for shopping and entertainment. While many of the shops and restaurants inside the sanctuary are upper class and very expensive, the Roman Agora outside caters to just about any taste and is full of cheaper items for gullible tourists to buy. This long string of shops contains a few treasures among the junk, however, and has one of the largest casinos in the game.


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