About Olympia, Greece

Olympia is a small town in Elis on the Peloponnese peninsula. Olympia is famous for the nearby archaeological site the goes by the same name. The site was the location of an important Panhellenic religious sanctuary of ancient Greece and where the ancient Olympic Games were held. The Olympic Games were held every four years throughout antiquity until the 4th century AD. The site was primarily dedicated to Zeus. This site should not be confused with Mount Olympus, which is in northern Greece.

This archaeological site is home to over 70 significant buildings. Many of them and the ruin have survived. The main Temple of Zeus is now only stones on the ground of where it once stood. The site has two museums, one of which is devoted to the ancient and modern Olympic Games.

The site was discovered in 1766, but excavations weren’t carried out until 1829 at the sanctuary of Olympia. The first major excavation was carried out in 1875. This excavation would focus the central part of the sanctuary, which included the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Hera, Metroon, Bouleuterion, Philipeion, Echo Stoa, and Treasuries and Palaestra. 14,000 objects would be uncovered and they are displayed in one of the museums. In 1936, a more systematic excavation began, which would focus on the area south of the stadium, the south Stoa, bath complex, and gymnasium. An excavation that took place from 1952 – 1966 would uncover the workshop of Pheidias, the Leonidaion, and the north wall of the stadium. Excavations between 1972 – 1984 would reveal graves and evidence that lead to the site of the Prytaneion.

The Olympic flame of the modern-day Olympic game is lit by reflection of sunlight in a parabolic mirror. It sits in front of the Temple of Hera.

Administrative Region For Olympia, Greece

West Greece

Area Of Olympia, Greece

545.1 km2 (210.5 sq mi)

Population Of Olympia, Greece

13, 409

Top Attractions In Olympia, Greece

Archaeological Museum – Many of Olympia’s greatest works of art and artifacts are displayed here. A couple of highlights include: the Sculpture from the Temple of Zeus and a model of the reconstructed ancient Olympia site. Museum consists of many rooms
Museum of the Ancient Olympic Games – Housed in the old archaeological museum in Ancient Olympia. Displays findings from the area that are related to the ancient games. Permanent exhibition are lined up in thematic sections.
Ancient Stadium – Located in Ancient Olympia. Gradually this stadium was moved further east past the Temple of Zeus. Starting and finishing lines are marked by stones.
The Temple of Hera – In the 7th century, the temple was made of wood, which was later replaced with stone. This is one of the oldest monuments in Greece. It is here that the Olympic flame is lit and then carried around the world.
Temple of Zeus – Built in the 5th century BC by a local architect. The temple was made of marble and limestone. The temple and the statue of Zeus were both destroyed by an earthquake.

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What to See in Ancient Olympia

Most of us know what the Olympic Games are. We also know that they originated in Ancient Greece as part of a festival to honor Zeus, the king of the gods. However, k... Read More