10.1.15

Olympia

Olympia is under protection of UNESCO.

The site of Olympia, in a valley in the Peloponnesus, has been inhabited since prehistoric times. In the 10th century B.C., Olympia became a centre for the worship of Zeus. The Altis – the sanctuary to the gods – has one of the highest concentrations of masterpieces from the ancient Greek world. In addition to temples, there are the remains of all the sports structures erected for the Olympic Games, which were held in Olympia every four years beginning in 776 B.C.
Olympia bears exceptional testimony to the ancient civilizations of Peloponnesos, in terms of both duration and quality. The first human settlements date back to prehistoric times; the Middle Helladic and Mycenaean periods are represented at the site. Consecrated to Zeus, the Altis is a major sanctuary from the 10th century BC to the 4th century AD corresponding to the zenith of Olympia. A Christian settlement survived for a time at the site of the ruins of the great Pan-Hellenic sanctuary.

In north-western Peloponnesos the archaeological site of Olympia at the foot of the Kronion Hill stretches over a triangular alluvial terrace at the confluence of the Alpheios and the Kladeos. In this area of very ancient settlement, religious centres of worship succeeded one another during the Hellenic period: those to Kronos, Gala, and other Chtonian divinities, those to Pelops, the hero who gave his name to Peloponnesus, and those to Hippodamia, whose hand Pelops won in a chariot race against Oenomaos, her father. Olympia became a centre of worship to Zeus in the 10th century BC.
The name Olympia, which described the wooded valley where the site was located, referred to the sacred mountain of Olympus, the habitual residence of Zeus. Placed under the protection of the cities of Pisa and later Elis, the Olympian sanctuary experienced an enormous renown in the 8th century BC, with the Pan-Hellenic games which were held every fifth year. Beginning in 776 BC, the games regularly brought together athletes. Later, orators, poets and musicians also came to celebrate Zeus.
The Altis (the sanctuary to the gods) includes the ruins of the two principal temples: the Temple of Hera (6th century BC) and the Temple of Zeus (5th century BC). The sanctuary contained one of the highest concentrations of masterpieces of the ancient Mediterranean world. Many have been lost, such as the Olympian Zeus, a gold-and-ivory cult statue which was probably executed by Pheidias between 438 and 430 BC. Other masterpieces have survived: large votive Archaic bronzes, sculptures of tympanums and metopes from the Temple of Zeus, and the Hermes by Praxiteles, found along with its base in the Temple of Hera.
To the north stood a row of Archaic Treasuries (6thand 5th centuries BC), several of which were built by residents of the distant Greek colonies of Selinus, Cyrene, and Byzantium. More recent structures - the Metroon and the Echo Colonnade (4th century BC), the Philippeion in honour of the victory at Chaeronea in 338 BC, and the Exedra of Herodes Atticus (157-60 AD)- gradually added to the complex topography of the sanctuary whose precinct overlooks an area of prehistoric settlements. The density of buildings outside the Altis is even greater: the built-up zone combines official housing and assembly rooms for the clergy and administrators, sports structures, thermal baths, and lodgings and accommodation for guests. To the north-west the Palaestra and the Gymnasium (3rd century BC), and to the east the old Stadium, rebuilt during the 1st century AD and remodelled in 1961-62, highlight a landscape of ruins of majestic beauty. Flooding of the Alpheios carried the Hippodrome away: only its original location is known.

History

In western Peloponnese, in the beautiful valley of the Alpheios river, lies the most celebrated sanctuary of ancient Greece. Dedicated to Zeus, the father of the gods, it sprawls over the southwest foot of Mount Kronios, at the confluence of the Alpheios and the Kladeos rivers, in a lush, green landscape. Although secluded near the west coast of the Peloponnese, Olympia became the most important religious and athletic centre in Greece. Its fame rests upon the Olympic Games, the greatest national festival and a highly prestigious one world-wide, which was held every four years to honour Zeus. The origin of the cult and of the festival went back many centuries. Local myths concerning the famous Pelops, the first ruler of the region, and the river Alpheios, betray the close ties between the sanctuary and both the East and West.
The earliest finds in Olympia are located on the southern foot of Mount Kronios, where the first sanctuaries and prehistoric cults were established. A large number of pottery sherds of the Final Neolithic period (fourth millennium BC) were found on the north bank of the stadium. Traces of occupation of the three periods of the Bronze Age were identified in the greater area of the Altis and new museum. A great tumulus of the Early Helladic II period (2800-2300 BC) was discovered in the lower strata of the Pelopion, while several apsidal structures belong to the Early Helladic III period (2150-2000 BC). It is traditionally believed that in approximately 1200 BC the region of Olympia was settled by Aetolians under the leadership of Oxylos, who founded the state of Elis. The first planned sanctuary dedicated to local and Pan-Hellenic deities was probably established towards the end of the Mycenaean period. The Altis, the sacred enclosure with its shady oaks, planes, pines, poplars and olive-trees, was first formed during the tenth and ninth centuries BC, when the cult of Zeus was probably established. Olympia was subsequently devoted exclusively to worship and for many centuries had no other structures except for the Altis, a walled precinct containing sacrificial altars and the tumulus of the Pelopion. The numerous votive offerings, mostly figurines, bronze cauldrons and tripods were placed outdoors, on trees and altars. The first figurines representing Zeus, the master of the sanctuary, date to the Geometric period.
In 776 BC, Iphitos, king of Elis, Kleosthenes of Pisa and Lykourgos of Sparta reorganized the Olympic Games in honour of Zeus and instituted the sacred ekecheiria, or truce. Soon the quadrennial festival acquired a national character. The great development of the sanctuary began in the Archaic period as shown by the thousands of votive offerings - weapons, figurines, cauldrons etc - dating from this period. This is when the first monumental buildings were constructed - the temple of Hera, the Prytaneion, the Bouleuterion, the treasuries and the first stadium. The sanctuary continued to flourish into the Classical period, when the enormous temple of Zeus (470-456 BC) and several other buildings (baths, stoas, treasuries, ancillary buildings) were erected, and the stadium moved to the east of its Archaic predecessors, outside the Altis. The countless statues and precious offerings of this period were unfortunately lost, as the sanctuary was pillaged several times in antiquity and especially under Roman rule. In the Hellenistic period the construction of lay buildings, such as the gymnasium and palaestra, continued, while in Roman times several existing buildings were refurbished and new ones built, including hot baths, luxurious mansions and an aqueduct. Many of the sanctuary's treasures were removed and used for the decoration of Roman villas.
The sanctuary continued to function during the first years of Christian rule under Constantine the Great. The last Olympic Games were held in 393 AD, before an edict of Theodosius I prohibited all pagan festivals. In 426 BC Theodosius II ordered the destruction of the sanctuary. In the mid-fifth century AD a small settlement developed over the ancient ruins and the Workshop of Pheidias was transformed into a Christian church. In 522 and 551 the ruins were devastated anew by earthquakes, the Temple of Zeus being partially buried. In subsequent centuries the Alpheios and the Kladeos overflowed and together with landslips from Mount Kronios buried the site deep in mud and sand. Olympia remained forgotten under a layer of debris 5-7 metres deep. The area was dubbed Antilalos and it is not until 1766 that the ancient sanctuary was re-discovered.
In 1829 the French Scientific Expedition of the Peloponnese partially excavated the Temple of Zeus, taking several fragments of the pediments to the Mus?e du Louvre. Systematic excavation began by the German Archaeological Institute in 1875 and continues to the present. During this last decade U. Sinn, Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of W?rzburg and member of the German Archaeological Institute, and his team researched the southwest building, while Dr. H. Kyrieleis, former director of the German Archaeological Institute, and his team excavated the Prehistoric buildings of the sanctuary. Several monuments of the site are currently under conservation and restoration. 

Description

The archaeological site of Olympia includes the sanctuary of Zeus and the many buildings erected around it, such as athletic premises used for the preparation and celebration of the Olympic Games, administrative buildings and other lay buildings and monuments. The Altis, the sacred enclosure and core of the sanctuary, with its temples, cult buildings and treasuries, occupies the centre of the site. It is surrounded by a peribolos, or enclosure wall, which in the late fourth century BC had three gates on its west side and two on the south, and is bordered on the east by the Echo Stoa, which separates the sacred precinct from the stadium. The enclosure wall was extended in Roman times and two monumental entrances were created on its west side.

The Classical Temple of Zeus and the earlier Temple of Hera dominate the Altis. East of the Heraion is the Metro?n, a temple dedicated to Cybele, the mother of the gods, and behind this, on the foot of Mount Kronios, a row of treasuries dedicated by Greek cities and colonies. To their west lies the Nymphaion, a splendid fountain dedicated by Herodes Atticus. South of the Heraion and over the remains of the prehistoric settlement of Olympia is the Pelopion, a funerary monument commemorating the hero Pelops. Also within the Altis are the Prytaneion, the see of the sanctuary officials, and the Philippeion, an elegant circular building dedicated by Philip II, king of Macedon. Southeast of the Heraion was the great altar of Zeus, a most important monument entirely made of ashes and therefore now completely lost. The remaining space inside the Altis was filled with numerous altars and statues of gods, heroes and Olympic winners dedicated by Greek cities or wealthy individuals, such as the Nike of Paionios.

Outside the sacred precinct of the Altis, to its south, are the Bouleutherion and the South Stoa, the southernmost building of the greater sanctuary and its main entrance from the south. West of the Altis and separated from it by the Sacred Road is a series of buildings for the sanctuary personnel, the athletes and the distinguished visitors: the gymnasium and palaestra, exercise grounds, the Workshop of Pheidias which in Late Antiquity was transformed into a Christian church, the Greek baths with their swimming pool, the Roman hot baths, the Theokoleion or priests' residence, the Leonidaion or officials' quarters, and the Roman hostels.

East of the Altis lies the stadium where the Olympic Games were held. South of the stadium was the hippodrome, of which no trace remains as it was swept away by the Alpheios. South of the hippodrome is a group of mansions and baths, including the famous House of Nero, built by the emperor for his stay at Olympia during his participation in the games.
.

Site Monuments


Temple of Zeus

The massive temple of Zeus, the most important building in the Altis, standing in its very centre, is the largest temple in the Peloponnese, considered by many to be the perfect example of Doric architecture. It was built by the Eleans from the spoils of the Triphylian war and dedicated to Zeus. Construction began c. 470 and was completed before 456 BC, when an inscribed block was let into the east gable to support a gold shield dedicated by the Spartans in commemoration of their victory at Tanagra. The architect was Libon of Elis; the sculptor of the pediments is unknown

Temple of Ηera
 The temple of Hera, one of the oldest monumental temples in Greece, stands in the north-west corner of the sacred precinct of the Altis, on the south slopes of Kronios hill, protected by a powerful terrace wall. It was dedicated to the Olympian sanctuary by the inhabitants of Skillous, an ancient city of Eleia. Pausanias relates that the temple was built approximately eight years after Oxylos ascended to the throne of Elis, that is c. 1096 BC, but in reality it is much later. According to some scholars, the first Heraion, built around 650 BC, was a small Doric temple with only a cella and pronaos, to which the opisthodomos and ptero were added later, around 600 BC. However, the theory that the entire temple was built around 600 BC prevails today. The temple was refurbished on many occasions, and the Romans transformed it into a kind of museum for the sanctuary's choicest treasures, such as the famous Hermes by Praxiteles.

Bouleuterion
 The bouleuterion, or Council House, one of the most ancient and important buildings of the sanctuary of Olympia, was the seat both of the Elean Senate, whose members were responsible for the organisation of the games, and possibly of the hellanodikai, or umpires. This is where the athletes registered and drew lots, and where their names and the program of events were announced. It was also where any offences and pleas were tried, and where penalties were decided. Situated south of the temple of Zeus, outside the sacred precinct of the Altis, the building was begun in the sixth century BC and completed in the fourth century BC; small additions and changes were made in the Roman period.

Prytaneion
 The Prytaneion, one of the oldest and most important buildings at Olympia, was the administrative centre of the sanctuary's political life and of the Olympic Games. It was the seat of the magistrates, the high officials who oversaw the sacrifices performed monthly to honour the gods; Pausanias (V, 15, 8) refers to it as the 'Prytaneion of the Eleans'. The Prytaneion occupied the north-west corner of the sacred enclosure, directly opposite the gymnasium. It dates in some form to the late sixth or early fifth century BC, but was repeatedly remodeled and enlarged later.

 Ancient stadium
 The stadium of Olympia, situated east of the sacred Altis enclosure, was where the ancient Olympic Games and the Heraia, the women's games in honour of Hera, were held. Before the sixth century BC the running events were held on a flat area along the treasuries' terrace, east of the great altar of Zeus. A first stadium (Stadium I) was formed in the Archaic period (mid sixth century BC) by leveling the area south of the Kronios hill inside the Altis. The west short side of the stadium faced the altar of Zeus, to whom the Games were dedicated. In the late sixth century BC a new stadium (Stadium II) was created east of its predecessor, with a racetrack extending beyond the treasuries' terrace; an artificial bank, three metres high, was formed along the south side, while the hill side formed a natural seating area along the north. The stadium received its final form (Stadium III) in the fifth century when the great temple of Zeus was built. By then the Games had become very popular, attracting a great number of both visitors and athletes, so a new stadium was deemed necessary. The new stadium was moved eighty-two metres to the east and seven metres to the north, and was surrounded by artificial banks for the spectators. After the construction of the Echo-hall in the mid-fourth century BC the stadium was isolated from the Altis, which shows that the Games had lost their purely religious character and had become more of an athletic and social event.

 Ancient gymnasium

 The ancient gymnasium of Olympia lies north-west of the Altis enclosure on a flat stretch of land by the Kladeos river bank. It is adjacent to the palaestra, which extends the gymnasium complex towards the south. Here athletes practiced track and field and the pentathlon. Before the construction of the gymnasium in the Hellenistic period, these events took place outdoors. The surviving structure dates to the second century BC.

Palaestra
 
 The palaestra is situated west of the Altis enclosure, near the Kladeos river. Built in the third century BC as part of the gymnasium complex, it was used to practice boxing, wrestling and jumping.

This almost square building (66.35 x 66.75 metres) stands 0.70 metres lower than the gymnasium. At its centre was an open court, forty one metres square, surrounded by a Doric colonnade of 72 columns and laid with fine sand on which the athletes trained. The columns and lower courses of the walls were of stone, the upper courses of the walls of brick and the entablature of wood. Round the court were rooms of various sizes, most of them with Ionic porches, in which the athletes anointed their bodies with oil (elaiothesion) or powdered them with dust (konisterion), undressed and washed. Some of the rooms retain stone benches, used by orators and philosophers for teaching and social intercourse. An Ionic colonnade lined the elongated space in the south wing. Originally, the palaestra had two entrance doors on its south side, but a Doric propylon with four columns on the fa?ade was added later on the north side. This became the main entrance to the building, while a small doorway also on the north side allowed access to the adjacent gymnasium.

Leonidaion
 The Leonidaion, situated at the south-west corner of the sanctuary, outside the sacred precinct of the Altis, was a large and luxurious hostel for distinguished visitors to the Olympic Games. It was built in approximately 330 BC and was remodeled twice in Roman times. A dedicatory inscription partially preserved on the epistyle of the outer Ionic stoa records that the building was erected by Leonidas son of Leotas from Naxos, who was both architect and benefactor. His statue stood at the north east corner of the building where its inscribed pedestal was found.

Workshop of Pheidias
 West of the sacred enclosure, directly opposite the temple of Zeus, was the workshop of Pheidias where the great sculptor crafted the gigantic chryselephantine statue of Zeus, listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. The building was erected in the second half of the fifth century, when Pheidias, after completing the sculptures for the Athenian Acropolis, went to Olympia to work on the statue of Zeus. Excavation finds and pottery date it precisely to 430-420 BC. Later the workshop became a place of worship containing an altar for sacrifices to various gods, which Pausanias (V, 15, 1) saw in the second century AD. In the fifth century AD, a Christian basilica was erected over its ruins.

 Theokoleon
 West of the sacred enclosure and north of the workshop of Pheidias lies the Theokoleon. This was the seat of the theokoloi, the priests of Olympia, but also the residence of the sanctuary staff, which included soothsayers, interpreters, bearers of sacrificial animals, musicians and a woodmonger who provided the wood used in sacrifices.

 Zanes
 Immediately outside the Krypte, the entrance to the stadium and along the treasury terrace is a row of sixteen pedestals, which supported the Zanes. These were bronze statues of Zeus, none of which has survived, created from the fines imposed on athletes for cheating at the Olympic Games. Their prominent position was intended to dissuade other athletes from cheating. According to Pausanias (V, 21, 2-18), the first of the Zanes were erected after the ninety-eighth Olympiad in 388 BC, when Eupolos from Thessaly was fined for bribing three of his opponents in the boxing event. The remaining six statues were erected after the 112th Olympiad in 332 BC by the Athenian Kallipos, an athelete of the pankration who also bribed his opponents. Pausanias mentions in detail other similar stories, ending with that of Sarapion from Alexandria, an athlete of the pankration, who fled on the eve of the contest in the 201st Olympiad, in AD 25. He is the only Olympic athlete to have been punished for cowardice.

Philippeion
 The Philippieion, the only circular building inside the Altis, is one of the finest examples of ancient Greek architecture. Located west of the temple of Hera, it was dedicated to Zeus by Philip II of Macedon after his victory at Chaironeia in 338 BC, proving the important political role of the sanctuary at that time. After Philip's death in 336 BC, the monument was completed by his son, Alexander the Great, who had the statues of his family crafted by the famous sculptor Leochares, placed inside. The monument was also used for the worship of the deified royal family of Macedon.

 Echo hall
 The Echo Stoa is located within the sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia, Greece. It is part of an ancient archaeological site excavated and preserved by the German Archaeological Institute at Athens. A stoa is a covered walkway or portico, typically colonnaded and open to the public. In ancient Greece a stoa could be used for a variety of reasons including the selling and display of goods, and religious or public meetings. Aside from Delphi, this sanctuary was the most important one in Greece.

Otherwise known as the Stoa Poikile (meaning painted stoa), because of the paintings that once lined the hall, the stoa later became known as the "Echo Stoa" due to the acoustics of its design. It is said one word uttered, would echo seven times. “Almost 100 meters long, it was probably begun after the mid-fourth century, but not completed for a long time thereafter…”  It was lined with inner and outer Doric style columns. The stadium was moved eastwards and a stoa was built to separate it from the sanctuary. “The intention is clear: it was to provide a colonnaded boundary to the sanctuary along the east side." Before the Echo Stoa, the finish line of the stadium was in full view of the temple. The structure also provided a backdrop for the penultimate stages of procession, however, this was less prominent than with the south stoa. During Hellenistic times this type of architectural layout, based heavily on view towards and from important buildings, especially with stoas became more common. “It was one of the most prominent features of the site at the time of Pausanias’ visit.

 The Metroon
 The Metroon, dedicated to the mother of the gods, Rhea, later re-named Cybele, stood east of the Heraion, below the terrace of the treasuries. This site was used for the worship of Mother Earth, to whom the sanctuary of Gaia was dedicated, and of Eileithyia, a similar deity connected to maternity, as early as the Prehistoric period.

 South-east building
 
 The so-called south-east building, probably a shrine of the goddess Hestia, formed the south-east limit of the Altis enclosure together with the Echo-hall, which was built to its north in the fifth century BC. Raised in the first half of the fifth century BC, the south-east building continued to function until the first century BC, when it was demolished to make way for new buildings. When Pausanias visited Olympia in the second century AD, the shrine was no longer visible as it had been replaced by the House of Nero and other buildings.

Altar of Zeus
 East of the Heraion and Pelopion stood the great altar of Zeus. No trace of it has survived, but the large quantities of ash and bronze votives discovered inside the Pelopion may come from this altar. According to myth, Zeus himself indicated the building spot of his altar by striking the ground with a thunderbolt. The altar was destroyed under Theodosius I, who abolished the Olympic Games, and under his grandson, Theodosius II.

Altar of Hera
 East of the Heraion, directly in front of the temple, are the foundations of the altar of Hera. This small oblong structure of poros, 5.80 metres long and 3.50 metres wide, was probably built like the temple in the sixth century BC to replace an earlier altar formed by the ashes of the sacrificed animals.
The Olympic flame of the modern Olympic games is lit on this very altar. The ceremony was first held for the 1936 Berlin Olympic games and has been repeated ever since for each Olympiad.

 Pedestal of the Nike of Paionios
 Hundreds of statue bases, many of which are inscribed, are scattered throughout the Altis. Situated approximately thirty metres east of the temple of Zeus is a most important example of these, the massive pedestal of the Nike of Paionios, the remarkable Classical statue. The votive Doric inscription on the base records that the Messenians and the Naupaktians dedicated the statue to Olympian Zeus after their victory against the Lacedaemonians in the Archidamian war (approximately 421 BC), and that the statue was crafted by Paionios from Mende. The text was carved on the third course of the pedestal, two metres above ground, and was clearly visible to the visitors.

Prehistoric building
 In the Prehistoric period, Kronos, Rhea, Gaia, Themis, Eileithyia, Hercules Idaios and other deities were venerated at the foot of the Kronios hill, at the very site occupied by the Altis in later times. Here excavations revealed a primitive sanctuary and possibly a settlement of the Early Helladic III period (2300-2000 BC); the site was continuously occupied until the Late Helladic III period (1600-1100 BC).

 Pelopion
 South of the Heraion was the Pelopion, a funerary monument (cenotaph) dedicated to Pelops, a much venerated Elean hero. According to Pausanias (V, 13, 1) this monument was dedicated by Hercules, a descendant of Pelops. Beneath the Pelopion lies a prehistoric tumulus (Early Helladic, approximately 2500 BC) and its enclosure. The earliest structure inside the Altis, its top was still visible in the Classical period.

 Nymphaeon
 The spring, also known as the Exedra of Herodes Atticus, one of the most opulent and impressive constructions inside the Altis, was situated between the temple of Hera and the treasury terrace. It stood at the end of a much-needed supply of pure drinking water brought to Olympia in AD 160 from springs east of the sanctuary and distributed by a dense network of pipes. Prior to that, water came from wells and was in short supply, especially during the Olympic Games when thousands of visitors flooded the sanctuary.

South hal
 The south hall was both the southern limit of the sanctuary of Olympia and its main entrance from the south. Situated outside the Altis enclosure, south of the bouleuterion, it was built at the same time as the Echo hall c. 360-350 BC, and remained in use for many centuries.

 House of Nero
 This large structure, situated at the south-west corner of the Altis, was built over the Classical sanctuary of Hestia and other buildings demolished for this purpose. A lead water-pipe inscribed NER. AVG. and other indications, support the identification of the building as the House of Nero, built in AD 65-67 for the emperor's visit to the Olympic Games of AD 67, in which he participated. The building was remodeled and enlarged several times until the fourth century AD.

Greek Baths
 
 The earliest baths of the sanctuary are situated near the bank of the Kladeos river. They were named Greek baths so as to be distinguished from the baths of the Roman period. The original structure, which dates to the fifth century BC, was gradually remodeled and enlarged. The Greek baths were probably abandoned in the Roman period when several other bath complexes were built inside the sanctuary.

 Heroon
  West of the Altis, between the Theokoleon and the Greek baths, lies the hero?n. Built in the second half of the fifth century BC as the sweat room (ephidroterion) of the baths, it became a hero?n, or monument to a hero, in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

Hostels
 The Roman hostels are located outside the sacred enclosure of the Altis, west of the workshop of Pheidias and very near the Roman baths of Kladeos, the construction of which is probably related to that of the hostels. The complex was built in approximately 170 BC to meet the demands of the swelling numbers of visitors to Olympia during the games. It was part of a large building program which included the remodeling of several buildings inside the Altis and the construction of others of more Roman character - grand, with many rooms and opulent decoration.

Leonidaion baths 
 The so-called Leonidaion baths, situated outside the south-west corner of the Altis, owe their name to the nearby guesthouse (though the two buildings were not related). This well-preserved monument is unique in Olympia in that it preserves its original height and roof. Built in the third century AD, it remained in use until the sixth century and was remodeled several times.

Kladeos baths
 The so-called Kladeos baths are situated near the bank of the Kladeos, at the western limit of the Olympian sanctuary, on the site of the swimming pool of the fifth century BC Greek baths. They were built in the Roman period, approximately AD 100, in connection with the nearby Roman guesthouse to the south.

Kronios baths
 The so-called Kronios, or north baths, lie to the north of the Prytaneion, near the foot of Kronios hill. The building was raised in Imperial times over a Hellenistic building and baths, was remodeled several times since and remained in use until the fifth to sixth centuries AD. A small bath complex was added to its north-east side during this last period.

 Olympia's Treasuries
 The treasuries of the sanctuary of Olympia are located at the foot of the Kronios hill in an area used for worship since Prehistoric times. They stand on a purpose-built terrace which extends from the Spring to the stadium, and date from the seventh to the mid-fifth centuries BC. A poros staircase connecting the terrace with the Altis below was constructed in the fourth century BC. Later a substantial buttressed retaining wall which defines the north limit of the sacred enclosure, was raised behind the treasuries at the foot of the Kronios hill. The treasuries were small temple-shaped buildings erected by various Greek cities for storing their precious offerings to Zeus. Pausanias describes some of these precious votive objects and mentions ten treasuries, namely those of Sikyon, Syracuse, Epidamnos, Byzantium, Sybaris, Cyrene, Selinus, Metapontum, Megara and Gela. However, the foundations of twelve treasuries were uncovered during excavation and only five of theses are identified with certainty (treasuries of Sikyon, Selinus, Metapontus, Megara and Gela). Most of the treasuries were dedicated by Greek cities in Italy, indicating the close ties between the sanctuary and the West. 

Hippodrome
  The hippodrome was situated at the south-east corner of the sanctuary of Olympia, on the large flat area south of the stadium and ran almost parallel to the latter. Its exact location is unknown, since it was washed away completely by the Alpheios river in the Middle Ages when the river's west bank dike fell into disrepair. The hippodrome housed the equestrian contests (horse racing and chariot-racing) of the Olympic Games and was therefore one of the most important monuments of the site.

 Ancient Olympia Old Museum
 It is the oldest regional Museum  in Greece and in the general Mediterranean basin. Until the decade of 1970, the Syngreion housed the brilliant finds of the Sanctuary, but the building itself had already been damaged in the eartquake that struck the area in 1954. With the constructionof the New Archaelogical Museum, the Old Museum remained closed until it was renovated from the foundations up.

Δεν υπάρχουν σχόλια:

Δημοσίευση σχολίου

loading...

Popular Posts Of The Week

Top best cpc cpm ppc ad network for publisher

Αναγνώστες

Translate

loading...
...
loading...
---------------------------------------------------------------------------