What to See in Ancient Olympia

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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, knowing and experiencing are two different things. There is no better place to experience the history of the Olympic Games than at Ancient Olympia where it all startd. Here’s more information that will help you enjoy your time here:

Getting to Olympia

Since Olympia is on mainland Greece, you will have to find your way to this site from wherever you are in Greece. For example, Olympia is about a two hour drive from the Athens Airport depending on the traffic. You can rent a car, hire a taxi, or even take a bus in order to get here. In fact, you can drive here or take transportation from several major locations throughout the country, not just Athens. The easiest option by far is to drive here in a rental car.

Tour the Ancient Stadium

While here, you’ll absolutely want to take a tour. The  stadium where many important competitions were held remains as one of Greece’s most important archeological sites. When you go through the superbly arched entrance, it will take you right where important people and regular people alike cheered on for their champions. There are ruins that still remain in the stadium, although these ones were constructed at a much later date. The remaining ruins are those of baths and cottages that resemble the private residence that Roman Emperor Nero built when he attended the games.

Visit the Archaeological Museum

During your stay, you’ll also want to visit the Olympia Archaeological Museum. Here, you will have a chance to see various artifacts that were found here. It is also the home to the Praxiteles’ Hermes, which is considered one of the greatest marble sculptures ever made. The masterpiece epitomizes Greek beauty, craftsmanship as well as the right balance. Other than Hermes, the museum houses other collectibles from the site. All told, the collections at the museum date back between the prehistoric era and the early onset of Christianity when the Olympic Games were made illegal because they were considered a pagan activity.

Attend a Cultural Event

There are many events that take place here, especially in the summer, and you should attend one of them if you are able. Many people attend these events due to the importance attached to this site. Ancient Olympia Festival is held between the months of July and August. The events that take place here include public lectures, theater performances and music concerts. These events really make this ancient site come alive.

The destruction by Theodosius as well as the ravages of recurrent earthquakes have taken away much of the magnificence of ancient Olympia. However, this World Heritage rated site is still very much recommendable as a travel destination. In the end, Olympia is the cradle for myriad sporting competitions and can provide the right inspiration to athletes. The buildings and classical architecture no longer stand in Olympia, but the imagination and meditation is good for the soul as well as mind.

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