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Located on the Peloponnese Peninsula about 10 miles inland from the Ionian Sea, Olympia is one of the most fascinating sites in Greece. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is where the very first Olympic Games were held to honor the god Zeus. The archaeological site includes remnants of the stadium that hosted the competitions and the Temple of Zeus which once held a stunning masterpiece ranked among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, a giant statue of the god, made of gold and ivory.
Olympia At A Glance
Population of Olympia 52,000
What to See in Olympia Explore the World famous ancient site that includes the stadium, Visit the Archimedes Museum & the Archaeological Museum
Towns or islands to visit near Olympia Athens, the Peloponnese Sites, Stoupa, Pilos, Sparti, Nafplio, Patras, the Saronic Islands, Poros
Things to do in Olympia
One of the best museums in all of Greece, this institution features finds from the archaeological site and others from excavations throughout the area. The highlights are the statues of Nike Paionios and Hermes of Praxiteles. By visiting before or after exploring the ruins, it will help put what you see at the ancient site into perspective.
The exhibits here are made up of an extraordinary private collection, thanks to mechanical engineer Kostas Kotsanas. It highlights the achievements by the ancient Greeks such as the very first “laptop,” the antikythera, a crane used to construct the Parthenon, and even a statue that’s considered the oldest “auto vending machine” in the world of a servant serving holy water. It’s accompanied by rich audiovisuals in English and Greek, including photographs and detailed diagrams.
The ancient site includes the stadium where most Olympic Games took place during antiquity, held every four years for nearly a thousand years. The racetrack is over 656 feet long. The Olympic flame is still lit here for modern day Games at the altar of the temple built dedicated to the goddess Hera in the 7th century BC. Visitors can also view the Temple of Zeus near the stadium, which was made of marble and lime. The Philippieion is considered one of the finest examples of ancient Greek architecture and is the only circular building inside the sanctuary. Just west of the Altis enclosure is Palaestra, constructed in the 3rd century BC, part of the gym complex where people once practiced wrestling, boxing and jumping.
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