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Ancient Olympia (Ileia)

αρχαια ΟλυμπιαWith its renowned sanctuary dedicated to the father of gods, Zeus, in the picturesque valley of the Alfeios River in the western Peloponnese, Olympia was the most significant religious and athletic centre all over Greece. It was the birthplace of the most important games in ancient Greece, the Olympic Games, which were performed every four years in honour of Zeus, an institution of panhellenic glow and global importance from antiquity to our days. In Olympia stood the gold and ivory (chryselephantine) statue of Zeus, a work of Phidias and one of the seven miracles of the ancient world. The beginning of the Olympic Games dates back in 776 B.C. and they were performed every four years. At the archaeological site of Olympia are the Temple of Zeus, with temples and buildings directly connected to Zeus’ worship, and various edifices built around it, such as sports facilities used for the preparation and performance of the Olympic Games, auxiliary buildings, functional and administrative, as well as secular ones.

Altis, the sacred grove, is right in the midst of the site, and inside it is the core of the Sanctuary, with the temples, treasures and major edifices of the area. It is separated from the surrounding area with a circuit wall, which had two gates in the end of the 4th century B.C., one to the west and one to the south, while the Stoa of Echo forms its border to the east and separates the sacred site from the stadium.


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