Ancient Delphi & Athens, MMXVII
03 March 2017
During the half-term break, Mr Drury, Mr King, Mme Howells and Mr Lovell-Jones all travelled to mainland Greece with 37 students of Latin and Art. They took in the impressive and ancient Pan-Hellenic site of Delphi, traversing its Sacred Way up the slopes of Mount Parnassus starting at the Castalian Spring and leading to the former sanctuary of the god Apollo. Once believed to be the omphalos, or belly-button i.e. the centre of the world, this ancient holiest of holy sites was once a thriving and bustling centre of religious cult and practice, featuring also an outdoor theatre capable of seating 5000 people as well a hippodrome and venue to the four-yearly Pythian Games. The site is much quieter today allowing visitors to take in its magnificent views of mountains and ancient track-ways that lead to the Corinthian Gulf - a dramatic body of water we sat by as we ate lunch consisting of calamari or Greek souvlakia!
Making their way back to Athens, theyhad the opportunity to visit the world famous Acropolis Museum, home to the internationally renowned Parthenon sculptures and friezes as well as the more archaic statuary and artefacts of previous eras. They walked the streets and squares of modern Athens, as well as taking in a tour-bus ride of all of the main sites around its central district such as: Syntagma Square, the temple of Olympian Zeus, the Zappeion and the Plaka area.
No trip to Athens would be complete without walking on its Acropolis and seeing the Parthenon up close. This became a suitable and inspiring subject for all students of art and photography as they could then appreciate more fully its central location in relation to the vast urban sprawl that is today modern Athens, but also because it brought into sharp contrast the co-existence of contemporary and ancient in this fascinating 21st century capital. Drawings and photographs of the temple of Athena as well as the Erechtheion with its distinctive caryatid columns kept our students happily occupied before making their way back to the airport and their return journey to Cardiff.