One of the must-see archeological sites in Greece is the archeological site of Olympia. It is located at the western part of the Peloponnese region in the beautiful valley of Alpheios river. The archeological site of Olympia is dedicated to Zeus, the father of Gods. Olympia was one of the most important religious and athletic centers in Greece. The archeological site of Olympia is related to the Olympic games that started to the honour of Zeus was taking place once every four years and later on became a worldwide festival.
The earliest findings in Olympia are located on the southern foot of Mount Kronios, where the first sanctuaries and prehistoric cults were established. On the north bank of the stadium there were found a large number of pottery sherds of the Final Neolithic period. In the area there have been found findings from the Bronze Age, the Early Helladic II period (2800-2300 BC) and from the Early Helladic III period (2150-2000 BC). It is traditionally believed that aprox. in 1200 BC the region of Olympia was settled by Aetolians under the leadership of Oxylos, who founded the state of Elis.
For the period April 1st – Oktober 31st, combined, individual ticket can be purchased for the price of 12 euros (reduced ticket € 6) and includes the visit to the following areas:1.Archaeological Site of Olympia, 2. Archaeological Museum of Olympia 3. Museum of the History of the Olympic Games of Antiquity and 4. Museum of the History of the Excavations in Olympia. The ticket is valid for one day. There are no longer availiable tickets only for a single area (e.g. The Arcaeological Site of Olympia)
During the period November 1st – March 31st, the price of the single ticket for all the above mentioned areas is reduced by 50% for all visitors and cost 6 euros.
From November 8th ,2019:
Daily (Monday-Sunday): 08:30 am – 3:30pm
Last admission (all days): 15’ before closing
Directions for the Archeological Site of Olympia HERE.
Ancient Olympic Stadium
One of the most important sightseeing’s in Olympia is the Ancient Stadium that is located to the east of sanctuary of Zeus and was the location of many of the sporting events of the Ancient Olympic Games. The physical landmarks of the Stadium are 212.54 m long and 30-34 m wide. At the Stadium there were held running races that were determining the fastest person in the World. The start of the race was a white block that was placed on one of the ends of the track and is the place where the athletes were placing their feet and got ready for the start of the race. The track was made of hard-packed clay to serve as traction for the contestants in the running events.
Temple of Zeus – Olympia
Another important sightseeing at the archeological site of Olympia is the Temple of Zeus, one of Seven Wonders of Ancient World. The Temple had the Doric style of architecture and was built in 470-457 BC from the architect Libon of Elis. The Temple had a peripteral form with a pronaos on the front and an opisthodromos at the back of the building. The total length of the building was 70.1 m (230feet), its breadth was 29 m (95 feet) and it’s height was 20.7 m (68feet). The original Temple was destroyed by the earthquakes of AD 522 and 551.
Kronious is a hill that was created naturally 800.000-1.600.000 years ago. The hill has faced several disasters through the years and this is the reason that its high now is 113,9m while during the 1880 was it was 122,6m. It was created from river sediments and it has dense vegetation.
A stoa in Greek is a covered walkway, typically colonnaded and open to the public. In ancient Greece a stoa could have several uses such as the display and selling of goods, the religious or public meetings. The Echo Stoa, or Stoa Poikile meaning painted Stoa in Olympia is one of the most important one in Greece. The total length of the Stoa is aprox 100m long and it took a long time to be built while the construction started after the mid-fourth century. The Exho Stoa is a Doric style architecture and has columns inside and outside. The reason that the Stoa was built is in order to separate the stadium from the sanctuary.
Another monument that someone can find next to the Echo Stoa in Olympia is the Bouleuterion. This council – assembly house was a building in the ancient Greece which housed the council of citizens of a democratic city state. The representatives of the city state would meet at the bouleuterion in order to discuss and decide about public affairs. Bouleuterian were located all across the country for the different city states.
The largest building of he ancient Olympia is the Leonidaion. It was constructed in 330 B.C., was founded By Leonidas of Naxos and was the lodging place for athletes taking part in the Olympic Games at Olympia. The inside of the building was designed with a Doric peristyle with 44 columns.
The Palaestra was built in the 3rd century B.C. as part of the gymnasium complex in order for the athletes to practice boxing, wrestling and jumping. The Palaestra was a square building 66.35X66.75 metres that consists of a square open court at its center surrounded by 72 columns and was laid with fine sand on which athletes trained. Round the court there were rooms of various sizes most of them with Ionic porchesin which the athletes anointed their bodies with oil or powered them with dust, undressed and washed. The main entrance of the building was a Doric propylon with four columns and a façade that was added later on on the north side while here was a second entrance with two entrance doors on its south side.
Temple of Hera
At Olympia there is the Temple of Hera or Heraion and Ancient Greek Temple that was dedicated to Hera, queen of the Greek Gods. The Temple originally was a joint Temple of Hera and Zeus, chief of the Gods until a separate Temple was built for him. At the altar of the Temple that is oriented east-west of the Temple the Olympic flame that is carried to all over the world is lit. The Temple was built aprox in 590 B.C. but it was later destroyed by an earthquake in the early 4th century C.E.
Archeological Museum of Olympia
The Archeological Museum in Olympia presents a long history of the most celebrated sanctuary of antiquity, the sanctuary of Zeus, father of both gods and men, where the Olympic games were born. In the museum someone can find findings dating from the prehistoric times to the Early Christian period mainly from the excavations in the sacred precinct of the Altis. The museum is very popular all over the word for sculpture collection, the bronze collection and the large terracottas collection. There are total twelve exhibition rooms with auxiliary spaces and restrooms. In 2004 the museum was reorganized in order to meet the modern museological standards.
International Olympic Academy Olympia
The International Olympic Academy has created next to the archeological site of Olympia in order to create an International cultural cenre to preserve and spread the Olympic Spirit, study and implement the educational and social principles of Olympism and consolidate the scientific basis of the Olympic deal, in conformity with the principles laid down by ancient Greeks and the revivers of the contemporary Olympic Movement.
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