In the August issue of BBC History Magazine, Dr Michael Scott selects the ancient site of Delphi in Greece as his favourite historical destination. HistoryExtra caught up with him to find out more...
Q: When did you last travel to Delphi?
A: I last visited Delphi in 2012
Q: What top three sights would you recommend people visit while they are at Delphi?
A: A trip to the remains of the gymnasium is a must. It is the earliest archaeologically attested gymnasium in all of ancient Greece and included a narrow covered colonnade where athletes could train in bad weather.
Delphi Archaeological Museum is another must-see. It holds some of the most incredible surviving sculptures from the ancient town – including Tournaire’s 19th-century watercolour reconstruction of the whole site, which can be found in the museum’s entrance.
Finally, the Sanctuary of Athena, about a mile east of the main site, is often overlooked by visitors, but should definitely be included in any trip to Delphi.
Q: What item would you suggest visitors take with them during a visit?
A: Water, good shoes with non-slip soles (the marble walkway at Delphi is a killer!), a good guidebook to the site, and time to spare.
Q: What should people bring back home with them?
A: A sense of the atmosphere at Delphi – like few other places on Earth – and the feelings of peace and calm that come with it.
Q: During what period of its history would you most wanted to have visited Delphi and why?
A: In the immediate aftermath of the Persian Wars (479 BC) when Delphi became the forefront of Greek victory commemoration. Or at the time of Plutarch (1st century BC) as he was having one of his philosophical conversations at Delphi.
Q: Where else in the world would you most like to visit?
A: The Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu and The Northern Lights
What readers think of Delphi
Go in spring – amazing flowers made the site look fantastic and with fewer visitors it was wonderful
Don’t forget your camera, walking shoes and sunglasses – whatever the season
Take solid trekking boots and lightweight rain parka - for Delphi is truly magical & unrivalled in beauty esp. under stormy clouds!
Go early in the morning before it gets really crowded, head straight for the top and enjoy the view before walking slowly!!
Next month, Sam Willis visits the Caribbean island of Antigua. Share your tips for would-be travellers on Twitter (@HistoryExtra) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/HistoryExtra)
Dr Michael Scott is the author of Delphi: A History of the Centre of the Ancient World (Princeton University Press, 2014) @drmichaelscott/michaelscottweb.com
You can read Michael's feature on Delphi in the August issue of BBC History Magazine