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Coordinates: 37°38′N 21°37′E / 37.633°N 21.617°E / 37.633; 21.617
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Ancient Olympia
Αρχαία Ολυμπία
Olympia is located in Greece
Coordinates 37°38′N 21°37′E / 37.633°N 21.617°E / 37.633; 21.617
Time zone: EET/EEST (UTC+2/3)
Elevation (center): 63 m (207 ft)
Country: Greece
Periphery: West Greece
Population statistics (as of 2011[1])
 - Population: 13,409
 - Area: 544.9 km² (210 sq mi)
 - Density: 25 /km² (64 /sq mi)
Postal: 270 25
Telephone: 26240
Auto: OG

Olympia (Ancient Greek: Ολυμπία Olympía) was a place in ancient Greece. It was in Elis, which is now called Ilia; and is in the east of the city Pyrgos. It was the site of the Olympic Games in classical times, the most famous games in history. The Olympic Games were held every four years throughout Classical Antiquity, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD.[2] The first Olympic Games were in honour of Zeus.

History[change | change source]

Ruins of the Philippeion
Palaestra at Olympia
The Olympia stadium

Olympia was a sanctuary, consisting of various buildings. These included a hippodrome, Palaestra, Gymnasium and several temples. The Olympic Games began here in 776 BC. They were founded by king Pelopas. They happened every four years, in the summers. All the ancient Greek towns competed. The winners of the Olympic games were important people. The Olympic games were abolished in 394 AD by the Christian Roman emperor Theodosius I, who declared that all Pagan religious practices should end.

During ancient history, Olympia was a powerful and rich town. It ruled over the west of Peloponnese. Olympia kept its strength and during Roman period. During the Middle Ages it was an unimportant city.

Gymnasium[change | change source]

The Gymnasium at Olympia was a large, open air, quadrangle surrounded on all four sides by colonnades of the Doric order. Only the southern and eastern sides survive. They date to the second century BC. The River Kladeos has destroyed the western side. The gymnasium was used by runners and pentathlon athletes for training. Athletes trained in the nude. In bad weather, training took place under the eastern colonnade (210.51 meters) and the other three colonnades. Little of the gymnasium has been excavated. About 200 BC, a portico of the Corinthian order was built to join the gymnasium and the palaestra.

Hippodrome[change | change source]

The Hippodrome was the site of horse and chariot races at Olympia, Greece. It was 1,153 meters long. It was south of the stadium, but none of it survives. It was washed away by the Alpheios River.

Palaestra[change | change source]

Footnotes[change | change source]

  1. "(875 KB) 2001 Census" (PDF). National Statistical Service of Greece (ΕΣΥΕ) (in Greek). www.statistics.gr. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
  2. Bickerman, E. J. (1982). Chronology of the ancient world (2nd ed., 2nd print. ed.). Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press. p. 75. ISBN 0-8014-1282-X.

References[change | change source]

  • Photinos, Spiros (1982), Olympia, Olympic Publications, Athens: Pan. & Theo. Agridiotis, p. 27
1: North-East Propylon – 2: Prytaneion – 3: Philippeion – 4: Temple of Hera – 5: Pelopion – 6: Nymphaeum of Herodes Atticus – 7: Metroon – 8: Treasuries – 9: Crypt (arched way to the stadium) – 10: Stadium – 11: Echo stoa – 12: Building of Ptolemy II and Arsinoe II – 13: Hestia stoa – 14: Hellenistic building – 15: Temple of Zeus – 16: Altar of Zeus – 17: Ex-voto of Achaeans – 18: Ex-voto of Mikythos – 19: Nike of Paeonius – 20: Gymnasium – 21: Palaestra – 22: Theokoleon – 23: Heroon – 24: Phidias' workshop and paleochristian basilica – 25: Baths of Kladeos – 26: Greek baths – 27 and 28: Hostels – 29: Leonidaion – 30: South baths – 31: Bouleuterion – 32: South stoa – 33: Villa of Nero – I–XII: Treasuries