Favorite thing: There are many myths surrounding the origin of the ancient Olympic Games. The most popular legend describes that Heracles was the creator of the Olympic Games, and built the Olympic stadium and surrounding buildings as an honor to his father Zeus.
According to another legend, the Olympic Games began after a victory by Pelops against Oenomaos, King of Pissa. The myth tells of how Pelops' overcame the King and won the hand of his daughter Hippodamia.
She was a daughter of King Oenomaus and mother of Thyestes and Atreus, by Pelops (have a look at my Mythological Mycenae). Pelops wanted to marry Hippodamia. Oenamaus had pursued thirteen suitors of Hippodamia and killed them all after beating them in a chariot race. He did this because he loved her himself or, alternatively, because a prophecy claimed he would be killed by her son.
Pelops (or alternatively, Hippodamia herself) convinced Myrtilus (by promising him half of Oenomaus kingdom), Oenomaus' charioteer to remove the linchpins attaching the wheels to the chariot. Oenomaus died. Pelops then killed Myrtilus because he didn't want to share the credit for winning the chariot race, or because Myrtilus had attempted to rape Hippodamia. As Myrtilus died, he cursed Pelops.
So the Olympic Games started!
You may see Pelops and Hippodamia at my second pic taken in Olympia's Museum.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Favorite thing: Historically, the Olympic Games began in 776 BC.
From then on, the Olympic Games quickly became much more important throughout ancient Greece, reaching their zenith in the 6th and 5th centuries BC. The Olympics were of fundamental religious importance, contests alternating with sacrifices and ceremonies. Every four years, athletic contests were organized here in honor of Zeus, lasting seven days.
An Olympiad started with the games, which were held at the beginning of the Olympic new year, which fell on the full moon closest to the summer solstice.
Despite the destruction the Olympic festival continued to be held at the site until the last Olympiad in 393 BC, after which a decree from the Christian emperor, Theodosius I implemented a ban.
They were revived for the first time after fifteen centuries, in 1896 in the marble stadium in Athens.
You may see the start and finish line at Olympia Stadion on my second pic.
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: The site of the ancient sanctuary, long forgotten under landslips and flood siltation, was identified in 1766. The exact site was re-discovered by the English antiquarian Richard Chandler.
The first excavation of the sanctuary at Olympia was not carried out until 1829, by the French "Expedition Scientifique de Moree". The expedition spent six weeks. Abel Blouet and Dubois undertook the first excavations there. The site was divided into squares and excavations were undertaken in straight lines: archaeology was becoming rationalized, and it was in this way that the location of the temple of Zeus was determined. The simple chase after treasure was beginning to be abandoned. The French team partially excavated the Temple of Zeus, taking several fragments of the pediments to the Musée du Louvre.
Systematic excavation began in 1875, under the direction the German Archaeological Institute, and has continued, with some interruptions, to the present time.
The first major excavation of Olympia began in 1875, funded by the German government after negotiation of exclusive access by Ernst Curtius. The central part of the sanctuary was excavated including the Temple of Zeus, Temple of Hera, Metroon, Bouleuterion, Philipeion, Echo Stoa, Treasuries and Palaestra. Important finds included sculptures from the Temple of Zeus, the Nike of Paeonius, the Hermes of Praxiteles and many bronzes. In total 14,000 objects were recorded. The finds were displayed in a museum on the site.
In 1900-1950 excavation was continued in a more limited way by Dörpfeld between 1908 and 1929 but a new systematic excavation was begun in 1936 on the occasion of the Summer Olympics in Berlin under Emil Kunze and Hans Schleif. Their excavation focus was on the area to the south of the stadium, the South stoa, bath complex and gymnasion.
Pheidias' workshop, the Leonidaion and the north wall of the stadium were excavated in the end of the XXth.
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: Modern town of Olympia is well suited to cater to the visitors with some very nice hotels, a lot of restaurants and tourist shops, and some nice beaches within a half hour drive.
The straggling modern village of Olympia is bisected by its one main street, Leoforos Kondili. The town has the usual assortment of tourist shops selling jewelry, T-shirts, and reproductions of ancient pottery and statues, as well as more than a dozen hotels and restaurants.
The ancient site of Olympia is an easily walkable 5-10 minutes south of the modern village.
In 2004 Athens was a capital of the Olympic Games for the second time in modern history. Several competitions took place in Olympia.
In February of 2008 the Olympic Flame was lit and began its travel from Olympia to Beijing. You may see the Olympia Map at my third pic.
You may watch my high resolution photo of Olympia on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 37º 38' 44.62" N 21º 37' 31.47" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Olympia modern town Central Square .
You may watch my 1 min 11 sec VIDEO-Clip Greece Olympia Morning walk out of my YouTube channel or only listen to beautiful Greek popular music.
Favorite thing: Just walking by the streets of Olympia is a wonderful experience. I had listened so much about Olympia and its history that I imagined a city. Well, Olympia is just a small town, no more than 15 blocks lenght in middle of beautiful hills.
Take a time to walk by the main street, enjoy the shops, talking with people. I found the people very gentle, more friendly than in Athens or the islands.
Fondest memory: You can breath peace there.
- Road Trip
THE CHERRY TREESThe best time...
Favorite thing: THE CHERRY TREES
The best time of the year to visit Olympia is undoubtely April. The weather is mild, the place is empty, the rates are low, and the cherry trees are wonderfully flowered all over the place.
OLYMPIC GAMESIn this sacred...
Favorite thing: OLYMPIC GAMES
In this sacred place, every four years, the greeks organized athletic contests in honour to Zeus. This 5 days (during the summer full moon) were a period of peace, and an excuse to reunite all the greek polis, giving all this independent groups a sense of unity. According to legend, the Olympic Games began after a victory by Pelops against Oenomaos, King of Pissa.
In 1896 Pierre de Coubertain recovered the spirit of that ancient games (banned in AD 393) to establish the Olympic Games as we know them, stablishing the 1st Games of the Modern Era in Athens.
Favorite thing: ARCHEOLOGICAL SITE
Unfortunately, the treasuries unearthed in the excavations begun in 1829 were taken to the Louvre Museum, but the ruins of the temples are imposing enough and the natural environment make the visit worth enough.
Telephone +30-624-22.517 / Fax: +30-626-22.529
THE MUSEUMIf the ruins and...
Favorite thing: THE MUSEUM
If the ruins and the landscape are worth the visit, the museum is a real must! Built up in 1975, it houses the breathtaking pediments from the Temple of Zeus showing the 12 works of Heracles, reconstructed and displayes in a room of the same spacial dimensions as its original setting.
To reach the museum, follow the tourists (I mean, follow the signs past the archeological site).
Telephone +30-624-22.529 / Full admission 1.200 grd / Ticket for both museum and site 2.000 grd / Reduced admission: (students from countries outside the E.U., citizens of the E.U. aged over 65) 600 grd.
THE OLYMPIC STADIUMThrough...
Favorite thing: THE OLYMPIC STADIUM
Through this still standing arch the athletes of the original Games entered the main stadium, from which is only kept the playground. It was the place where the first competitions, a run down the length of the stadium (142,25 meters), were held.
My first stadion win!!!
Favorite thing: The track has a length of 212.54m and a width of 28.50m.
A stadion was an event that in ancient time the athletes were running. It consist of a lenght of the Stadion (Stadium)
Fondest memory: When I ran like a fool to complete the length of the Stadion (Stadium)...The only thing missing was the olive wreath!!!
Because I beat my dad to the finish!!!
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