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Central Greece - Sterea Hellas

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Welcome to Fokida (Phocis) in Central Greece (Sterea Hellas)

Click to open large map in popup ...The green prefecture of Fokida (Phocis), full of olive groves as well as small beaches, attracts a large number of tourists almost all year round.

The capital and commercial centre of the prefecture is Amfissa (200 km. from Athens), the Byzantine Salona From the moment you see it, the town will strike you as picturesque, built as it is between the mountains, with its Frankish fortress perched precariously on a precipitous rock and surrounded by olive trees.

Amfissa is also renowned for its marvelous olives. But what attracts the largest stream of tourists to the area is nearby Delphi (Delfi), the site of the famous Oracle of Apollo on the slopes of Mt. Parnassos. The magnificent landscape chosen by the ancient Greeks for their sanctuary, framed by the Phaedriades rocks (the twin "Shining Rocks" that tower above the Oracle) with the Gulf of Itea gleaming in the background, is truly unique.

The sanctuary of Athena, the ruins of the temple of Apollo, the Gymnasium, the Stadium decorated with small statues, the ancient theatre, a 4th century BC construction, and the Castalia Fountain are just some of the wonders to admire amidst Delphi's majestic atmosphere.

Itea lies at the edge of the Sacred Valley of Delphi. It takes its name from the numerous willow trees (ities) that used to reach as far as the shore. A seaside market town, Itea is slowly evolving into an important commercial and tourist center. It is hard to pass by the nearby beaches of Trocadero and Miami, or the beach of Itea, without taking a dip. Very close to Itea is the village of Kira, the flourishing port of Delphi in antiquity. Nowadays its long stretch of beach attracts many bathers.

Following the coastal road west of Itea, you come to Galaxidi. Situated at the end of a little fjord, it was an important naval and shipbuilding center until 1821 when it was destroyed. In this pleasant harbor tradition is still very evident along the quay amongst the seafood taverns and boatyards where self taught craftsmen still make sturdy wooden caiques.

Continuing west, the seaside settlements of Agios Nikolaos, Spilia and Glifada, as well as the islands of Trizonia, Agios Ioannis and Prassoudi opposite are ideal for bathing and fishing. If you 're seeking peace and quiet, we suggest you visit the mountain villages of Eptalofos or Ano Agoriani, a starting point for the Parnassos ski centre, Lilea, Polidrossos and Gravia surrounded by fir trees and streams.

DELPHI

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Delphi is located in lower central Greece, on multiple plateau/terraces along the slope of Mount Parnassus, and includes the Sanctuary of Apollo, the site of the ancient Oracle. This semicircular spur is known as Phaedriades, and overlooks the Pleistos Valley. Southwest of Delphi, about 15 km away, is the harbor-city of Kirrha on the Corinthian Gulf.

Delphi was revered throughout the Greek world as the site of the omphalos stone, the centre of the earth and the universe. In the inner hestia ("hearth") of the Temple of Apollo, an eternal flame burned. After the battle of Plataea, the Greek cities extinguished their fires and brought new fire from the hearth of Greece, at Delphi; in the foundation stories of several Greek colonies, the founding colonists were first dedicated at Delphi.

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