The ancient stadium where you can perform a running race
The mysticism of the place
Hermes of Praxiteles (which is considered the most beautiful statue ever sculpted)
The pediments of the temple in the museum
The weapons and armors that were dedicated to the sanctuary
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In the western Peloponnese, in the beautiful valley of the Alfeios river, the most glorious sanctuary of ancient Greece dedicated to the father of the Gods, Zeus, flourished.
It spreads to the southwestern foothills of the verdant Kronion hill, between the rivers Alfeios and Cladeos, which unite in this area. Despite its secluded location near the western coast of the Peloponnese, Olympia was established in the ancient world as the most important religious and sports centre. Here, the most important games of ancient Greece took place, the Olympic Games, which were held every four years in honor of Zeus, an institution with panhellenic appeal and glamor from the ancient times up to the present day. The beginning of the worships and the mythical competitions that took place in Olympia is lost in the depths of time. The local myths about the mighty king of the region, the famous Pelops (from which the Peloponnese is named) and the river God Alfios, reveal the strong bonds of the sanctuary with both the East and the West.
According to the ancient tradition, in the 11th century BC in the wider area of Olympia, the Aetolians, led by Oxylo, who founded the state of Ilida, settled down. Towards the end of the Mycenaean era, the oldest primitive sanctuary, probably dedicated to local and panellenic deities, was probably formed.
Around the 10th-9th century B.C. Altis, the sacred grove that was full of wild olive trees, pines, plane trees, poplars and oaks, began to form. Then the worship of Zeus was established, and Olympia from a place of habitation became a place of worship.
In 776 BC. the games were reorganized in honor of Zeus, by Iphitos, the king of Ilida, by Clehosthen of Pisa and Lykourgos of Sparta, who established the holly truce. Olympia was held every four years and soon acquired a panhellenic character.
The magnificent temple of Zeus, which housed one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the golden ivory statue of the father of the Gods, was built at the peak of the golden age of antiquity to be destroyed by two great earthquakes in the sixth century AD. and having endured the destruction that all the sanctuary suffered during the times of Theodosius II.
Today, the archaeological site of Olympia still exudes sacredness and mysticism and thousands of visitors come to visit the Alpheus valley daily to wander in the past, a past that still impresses everyone today.