The present Temple of Apollo at Delphi is the third on the site. The first temple, built in the seventh century B.C., was burned down in 548 B.C. The second was built by the Alcmaeonids in 531 B.C. after their expulsion from Athens by Peisistratos. In Archaic style, with 6 x 15 columns and sculpture depicting Apollo's coming to Delphi on the east pediment, it collapsed in 373, burying the pediment (fragments in Museum). The third temple, built between 346 and 320 B.C., preserved the elongated ground-plan of the Archaic temple and re-used the old column drums, but the detailing has the cool harmony of the late classical period.
Of the main structure only the foundations are left, but we know that the pronaos contained inscriptions with the sayings of the Seven Sages (including the famous Apollonian imperative Gnothi seauton, "Know thyself") and that at the west end was the adyton, on a lower level, which contained the omphalos stone, a gold statue of Apollo, a laurel tree and (over the aperture for the oracle) the tripod of the Pythia. It is likely, according to Roux, that an area in the right-hand part of the adyton was curtained off for those seeking the oracle's advice.
The water of the Kassotis spring probably played some part in the cult of the oracle: according to Pausanias it "brought the women in the adyton of the god into a condition in which they could prophesy". With this Georges Roux associates the spring chamber on the terrace between the temple and the polygonal wall, to which a flight of 12 steps leads down. From the spring a channel runs into the foundations of the temple, and an outflow hole can be seen in the polygonal wall. This spring belonged to the second temple, but was removed during the building of the third temple in 346 B.C.
On the hillside above the temple stood the figure of the "Charioteer", now in the Museum, which was buried under a mass of earth brought down by an earthquake in 373 B.C. and was thus preserved from later metal-thieves. Close by is a large niche which once housed a sculptured representation of Alexander the Great's lion-hunt.