Delphi Gymnasium

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Location: Ancient Site

The Ancient Gymnasium of Delphi, Sterea: The ruins of the Ancient Gymnasium are found right next to the Sanctuary of Athena Pronea (Tholos), on the southern side of Delphi Archaeological Site. In the ancient times, this was actually a large block of buildings that included the gymnasium, the palaestra, and the baths. These buildings were constructed in the 4th century B.C. and went under many modifications in the centuries that followed.


The gymnasium was the training place, mostly for track and field, for the athletes that participated in the Delphic Games. The athletes were trained for wrestling in the palaestra. In the Hellenistic times, the Gymnasium was also used for intellectual and cultural events, such as lectures. In the Roman times, the baths were rebuilt so that hot water was provided there.

The gymnasium was constructed in two levels. The upper level was used as a training place in case of bad weather. The lower level included the palaestra, which had a square yard surrounded by colonnades with separate rooms. These rooms served as changing rooms, ball courts and possibly a sanctuary dedicated to Hercules or Hermes. On the west side of the palaestra, there was a circular pool with ten meters in diameter and 2 meters deep. Water was coming from Kastalia Spring with special faucets and was being poured into this pool, which was used by the athletes. In the Roman times, this pool has hot water.

In the Byzantine times, a monastery was built on the site of the Gymnasium. This monastery was demolished in 1898 when the excavations on the site of Delphi started.



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