Olympia - Greece


Olympia - vaulted tunnel to the stadium
Olympia is located in the northwest of the Peloponnese. Olympia is known as the first venue of the Olympic Games which took place here from the 7th Century BC up to the 5th Century AD. The sanctuary and the oracle are less known.

The sanctuary was founded on the remains of the tumulus which was built around 2500 BC and was used as a place of worship of the hero Pelops.

When entering the sacred district you see the Palaestra on the right hand site. It had been used as training centre for boxing or wrestling. In Phidias' workshop, the famous architect and sculptor built the Statue of Zeus, which was considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Later the building was converted into a paleochristian basilica. 





Further south you find the Leonidaion, a lodging place for the athletes, as well as the thermal springs.

The remains of the Temple of Zeus on the opposite site cannot be overlooked. One of the columns with a height of 34 feet was reconstructed in 2003. The imposing building with a size of 209 (length) x 91 (width) x 65 (height) feet was built on a 4 feet high platform, which was accessible via a ramp. Inside the temple beside a sacrificial altar was Statue of Zeus, the 43 feet tall. Presumably, the temple was destroyed by an earthquake in the 5th Century AD.
In the House of Nero that he had built on the occasion of his participation in the Olympic Games, precious mosaics were laid formerly.

North of it, one reaches the stadium through a formerly underground corridor which was restored in the form of the 4th pre-Christian century in 1961. In the stadium 45,000 spectators were able to watch the racing competitions. The start and finish lines, as well as the stone seats of the judges, are still preserved. On the opposite side is a small altar.
On the way to new archaeological museum, we go past the treasure houses where precious votive offerings were kept.

To the west are the columns of the Heraion, the temple was dedicated to the Hera and is one of the oldest buildings in Olympia.

The Philippeion, a rotunda built of Phillip II, served to render homage of him and his family.

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