Greece is where the Olympic games began over 2700 years ago. Back then the Greek athletes competed nude at Olympia and the 5 day event attracted prostitutes from all over the Mediterranean. (The word "gymnasium" is derived from the Greek word "gymnos", which means "naked")
A Byzantine Christian emperor banned the Olympics in 394 because he considered the nude games a pagan tradition.
The first modern Olympics were held in Athens in 1896. Panathenaic Stadium, which dates back to 330 B.C., had become a buried site until 1870 when King George ordered it excavated. Not much work got done though until a rich architect living in Alexandria, Egypt offered to finance the stadium's restoration and it was finally completed in time to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Greek independence from Turkish rule.
The nearby Athens Tennis Club was an additional venue in 1896. The gold medal in men's singles and doubles was won by a British tourist, John Boland, who signed up for the tennis tournament at the last minute upon confirming that he would not have to play nude. (Actually, he substituted for a sick player.)
In 1906 the Olympic games were held in Athens again, after Paris in 1900 and St. Louis in 1904. Verner Järvinen, the first Finn to compete in the Olympics, won the Greek-style discus throw and placed second in the freestyle discus. He became a national hero after returning home and inspired Finland to become a future Olympic power.
The stadium you see today was the finish line for the marathon and was also used for the archery events at the recent 2004 Athens Olympics. It's capable of seating 50,000 spectators but the archery competition only attracted around 500.
There is a statue of a naked discus thrower across the street, posing to remind tourists of the Olympics' ancient origins, as well as a billboard sized black and white photo showing the stadium when it hosted the 1896 games.
The Olympic (Panathinaiko) Staium is only a few meter from my apartment. It is a great place to visit anytime during the day.
When it is open you can jog around the track, and night its is beautifully lit. My favorite time to go is late late afternoon. check it out.
This stadium was the site of the first modern Olympics in 1896. It was built on the site of ruins used for atheletic events since the 4th century BC. You can't enter the stadium except of during events but one side is enclosed only by a fence for easy viewing.
To the northeast of the Acropolis, the 330 BC Panathenaic Stadium, built to accomodate the Panathenaic Games, hosted the first Modern Olympics in 1896 and again rose to the occasion in 2004 when the games returned to their birthplace.
Originally it was a natural hollow part of the ground between the two hills of Agra and Ardettos, over the Ilissos river. It was transformed into a stadium by Lykourgos in 330-329 BC for the athletic competitions of the Panathinaic Festival.
Between 140 and 144 AD, Herodes Atticus restored the stadium, giving it the form that was found at the 1870 excavation: the horseshoe construction with a track 204,07 metres long and 33,35 metres wide. It is believed that the Stadium had a seating capacity of 50.000 people. Another portico was placed in the stadium's facade. Herodes possibly also restored the Ilissos river bridge on the Stadium's entrance, making it larger and adding three archways on its base. The bridge was standing there up to 1778 and a part of it was excavated in 1958.
During Roman times, the Stadium was used as an arena, with the addition of a semi-circular wall on the north that was corresponding to the sphendone of the southern side. The modern times restoration of the Stadium was conducted by the end of the 19th century for the first Olympic Games that were reborn again in 1896.
Panathenaic Stadium holds a unique world record. On 4th April 1968, AEK Athens won the European Cupwinners' Cup, beating Slavia Prague, in front of 60.000 spectators, the largest crowd ever to attend a basketball match.
Panathenaic Stadium (in Greek: Panathinaiko Stadio, meaning stadium of all the Athenians), is also known as Kallimarmaro which means "made of fine marble". When you are in Athens and especially when you're looking for directions, never call it Olympic Stadium, as people will think you are talking about the modern Olympic Stadium, in the northern suburbs. Also, try not to confuse it with the home ground of Panathinaikos FC, Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium also known as Leoforos.
The Panathinaic Stadium (meaning stadium of all Athenians) is also known as Kallimarmaro Stadium (meaning made of marble) was originally built from 329-300 B.C. by Lykourgos. The main purpose were atletics games.
Between 140-144 A.D. Herodes Atticus decided to rebuilt this stadium and he gave it its current shape: the shape of an enormous horseshoe. This stadium has a capacity of 50.000 people, had a running track of 207 metres long and 33,5 metres wide.
In the Roman time it was used as an arena. At the front there was added an half-round wall to complete the oval of the stadium. This wall is not visible anymore.
In modern times the stadium was completely renovated at the end of the 19th century, because of the first Modern Olympic Games in 1896, in Athens. The second Olympic Games in Athens, in 2004, were the reason to renovated it once again, from 2003-2004.
It´s a really impressive experience to imagine the history of this place. Over 2000 years of sport history.
This beautiful marble stadium was built in the 4th century BC. It has been restored twice and its capacity is 70.000 spectators. In 1896 the first modern Olympic games were held in this Stadium. In Greek, the Stadium is called "Panathinaikó Stàdio", meaning "The Stadium of all Athenians".
This huge marble-made structure(it is actually the only stadium in the world made totally of marble) is situated on the spot where the ancient Panathenaic stadium used to be(built in 329 BC by Lycourgos).During the time of Handrian,it was used as an arena.After that it was totally renovated by Herod Atticus,with white marble from mount Pend?li for the Panathenian Games of AD 144.In the years that followed the stadium was abandoned and mutilated as its marble was used for the erection of other buildings.More than a millennium passed and in 1895,a year before the First Olympic Games of modern Era were to be hosted in Athens,the studium was re-built,an exact copy of the original one(according to Pausanias' description). Having length of 204m,width 83m and a capacity of 60,000 spectators the Panathenaic or else Kallimarmaron Stadium was the site where Archery and the finish of the Marathon took place in the Olympics. I was an Olympic volunteer there!I will never forget this experience! The picture you see depicts Kallimarmaro and in the foreground Phevos and Athena,the Olympic mascots a synthesis made of flowers,spring 2002.
The Kali Marmara (Beautiful Marble, I guess) Olympic Stadium hosted the first contemporary Olympic Games.
It was reconstructed back in 19th century using the remains of ancient Roman stadium built in 4th century BC.
2004 Olympic Games are going to start here (it is the finish of the Marathon) so the construction is being modernized. You won't enter it :(
The sight of the Panathinaikos Olympic Stadium is awesome. It doesn't fail to draw you in visually, even if you don't care at all for sports. Here you can just walk in and stroll around and take it all in.
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