The European Cultural Centre of Delphi (E.C.C.D.) was founded in 1977, upon the inspiration and initiative of Konstantinos Karamanlis with the view of setting up a European and worldwide intellectual centre in Delphi. The first thoughts and discussions started in the 1930s when, in the aftermath of the Delphic Festivals (1927 & 1930), the Parliament and the Senate passed a law providing for the establishment and organisation of an International Intellectual Cooperation Centre similar to the "treasures" of the ancient Greek city of Delphi. In 1957, Greece filed a draft proposal to the Council of Europe for the foundation of an Intellectual Centre in Delphi, which was also accepted. The construction of the conference venue began in 1966, based on the architectural plans of architects Kostas Kitsikis and Antonios Lampakis.  The construction was completed in 1970. The cost was covered by state funds and funds of the Council of Europe.

In 1977, by an act of the Greek Parliament, the European Cultural Centre of Delphi (E.C.C.D.) was established as a "corporate body under private law", under the supervision of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and the auspices of the Council of Europe.

According to its founding law, its aim is to "serve international cultural interests" and "develop common cultural principles that will unite the peoples of Europe” through the “publication of studies on European culture, the organisation of cultural meetings and other artistic activities…"

During his meeting with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Franz Karasek, on 15 April 1980, Konstantinos Karamanlis said: Greece, in my opinion, can become an international cultural centre, with the revival of some institutions of the antiquity such as the European Cultural Centre of Delphi and the Olympic Games.