Let the Games begin…
Visit the birthplace of the Olympic Games, the place where the effort of naked handsome strong Greek men was enough to stop any war, even if it was only during the Games. A journey to origins of the Olympic Games through the centuries and a great escape combining sightseeing, history, myths and nature.
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Olympia is a small Greek town in Elis on the Peloponnese peninsula. It is famous for the nearby archaeological site with the same name, which was a major Panhellenic religious sanctuary of ancient Greece, where the ancient Olympic Games were held. The site was primarily dedicated to Zeus and drew visitors from all over Greece as one of Panhellenic centers which helped build the identity of the ancient Greeks as a nation. The Olympic Games were held every four years throughout Classical antiquity, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD.
The archaeological site held over 70 significant buildings, and most of the ruins have survived. Unfortunately, only the foundation of the Temple of Zeus has been preserved. In this temple, there was a statue of Zeus made of ivory and gold, the masterpiece of the Athenian sculptor Phidias and one of the seven wonders of the world. The site has two museums: one devoted to the ancient and modern games and the other one dedicated to the archaeological site and considered one of the best in Greece, where you can find, among others, the famous Hermes of Praxiteles.
It takes about four hours by car to get there, so it is not possible to visit it on a day trip from Athens. It should be combined with other places nearby such as Pyrgos, where you can find one of the best beaches of the Peloponnese, or Kalamata further south. Winter time is perfect to combine it with the mountain villages of the region. It is a great escape for any season of the year!