Olympia in Greece~Birthplace of the Olympic Games

posted in: Greece | 5

Photo by Margie Miklas Ruins at Olympia, GreeceMay 21, 2015

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.

Olympia, Greece ~ Photo by Margie Miklas


Some of the seats at Olympia in Greece Photo by Margie Miklas
Some of the remaining seats at Olympia in Greece

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.

Olympia, Greece ~  Photo by Margie Miklas
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.


Temple of Zeus in Olympia, Greece Photo by Margie Miklas image
Temple of Zeus in Olympia, Greece

Olympia, Greece ~  Photo by Margie Miklas

imageBelow, the Temple of Hera is the oldest temple at Olympia, built around 600 BC. Originally the temple was for Zeus and Hera, but later a separate temple was built for Zeus.

Olympia, Greece ~  Photo by Margie Miklas
Ruins of the Temple of Hera at Olympia, Greece

Olympia, Greece ~  Photo by Margie Miklas Visiting Olympia reminded a bit of going to Pompeii although these Greek ruins are so much older. I highly recommend a visit here if your travels find you in Greece.

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.

5 Responses

  1. Sherry

    I’ve been there. The day we arrived it was gloomy and the thunder and lightning just added to the thrill of it for me. There were few tourists but we stood together at the ruined temple and the thunder crashed. It was as if Zeus thanked us for coming. It was so cool. To walk the grounds and close your eyes, you could hear the ancient crowds. An amazing day.

  2. imarancher

    I can’t imagine anyone today building anything that would last so many centuries. I CAN imagine all those naked. . I mean, the games must have been a lot more interesting back in those days.

I'm always interested in your thoughts, so please leave a comment.