The awe-inspiring natural site of Delphi itself radiates spiritual power. It sits on a small plateau where a level area had to be carved out for the establishment of the sanctuary that was one of the most important religious centers of antiquity, considered to be the center of the earth (omalos yis).
The site, at 570 meters/1870 feet, sits on the southern slopes of Mt. Parnassos in an angle formed by the two sheer peaks of about 300meters known as the Paedriades (Shining Rocks) which create a chasm below them. The western one is called Rhodhini (Roseate), the eastern one Phleboukos (Flamboyant). Those found guilty of sacrilege were allegedly hurled from the second by the Delphians. In a cleft between the cliffs is the Kastalian Spring, where pilgrims to the sanctuary purified themselves, and in a ravine to the south below the peaks flows the River Pleistos. Completing the circle to the west is is the 700 meter peak of Aghios Ilias (St Elijah), beyond which Mt. Kirphys rises. The river valley is planted with olive trees, and extends to the port of Itea and the Gulf of Corinth. The site is relatively small-about 6 acres-and south-facing.
Legend has it that Delphi was founded by Zeus, and ancient historians recount the flight of two eagles, sent by the gods to find the center of the earth, who then met above Mt. Parnassos and decided upon Delphi as the sacred spot.