Ermak Travel Guide

 

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Olympia Archaeological Site

Olympia Reconstruction

Olympia Archaeological Site is a site a birthplace of Olympic Games. The best time to visit the site is late spring then the flowers are blooming, early summer or autumn. August is hottest and driest month of the year. The legend states that the first games were initiated in 776 BC by Hercules himself. Games were held till 393 AD then Christian emperor Theodosius I banned them.

 

 

Tel. 26240 22742

 

Open: Apr- Oct 8am- 7pm daily

Nov- Mar 8:30am- 3pm Tue- Sun

10:30am- 5pm Mon

Closed: public holidays

 

Museum of history of the Olympic Games

Open: Nov- Mar 8:30am- 3pm Mon

12:30pm- 5pm Tue- Sun

Apr- Oct 12pm- 7:30pm Mon

8:30am- 7:30pm Tue- Sun

www.culture.gr

 

 

 

Description of Olympia Archaeological Site

Tens of thousands Greeks from all over Greece and its colonies gathered every Olympiad (i.e. every four years) to participate in these prestigious religious and sport event. All hostilities had to stop for period of games between city- states to compete fairly to honor gods. Only men were allowed to compete and watch the games. In fact that is one of the reasons why athletes competed naked. Events included boxing, wrestling, running, chariot races, the discus and javelin throw, broad jump and others. For viewers who wanted to participate in the games pancration was held, an all- out boxing- wrestling match between spectators. Victors were awarded with simple laurel of wild olive and a right to erect a statue in their honor. These statues numbered in thousands. Poets sang songs to honor heroes and hometowns received their victorious athletes with honor and lavish attention.

 

The main church of Olympia complex is Temple of Zeus where a 40 feet (12 meters) statue of Zeus once stood. Made from marble, ivory, ebony and gold, this wonderful statue was a work of Phidias and was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The fate of the statue is uncertain. Some blame its loss on invading barbarian tribes that stole and vandalized much of the site, stealing gold and anything of value. Others blame it on Byzantine emperor Theodosius I who brought it to Constantinople where it was destroyed by fire in the 5th century. The temple of Zeus finally collapsed about the same time due to earthquakes. Huge drums of the columns are still visible. The workshop where the statue was build by Pheidias was turned into a Basilica.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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