Olympia is not one of the Greek Isles, but rather a city on the mainland of Greece, in a valley on the Peloponnese peninsula. In addition to ancient temples, many remains of the sports structures erected for the first Olympic Games in 776 B.C. are here. Every four years at the start of the games, the famous torch is lit here in Olympia and runners transport it to its final destination.
Aside from being a Unesco World Heritage site, Olympia is an important historical spot, and it is much larger than I expected. The first Olympic Games were held in the stadium here in honor of Zeus. Dating back to the 5th century BC the stadium was 232 yards long by 30 yards wide and had room for 45,000 spectators. When I climbed the hill to look down onto the field, I tried to imagine what it was like to be there during those first games. The fact that I actually was standing in the same place where something so historic occurred more than 2700 years ago was almost mind-boggling.
Walking around Olympia was hot even though this is only the middle of May. I’m glad I decided to wear a sleeveless cotton dress instead of pants which would have made me feel even hotter.
The flowering trees amid the ancient structures make this a pretty place. Actually the area leading into the ruins of Olympia is a beautiful park. Park officials unobtrusively wander about and quietly ensure that visitors are not standing on monuments or doing anything that might mar this protected site.
Have you been here? What was your impression? Is this some place you might like to visit?
I am interested in your thoughts. Please leave a comment.