The Panathenaic Olympic Stadium of Athens
The Panathenaic Olympic Stadium, also known as Kalimarmaro since it was covered throughout with white marble, is meant to serve athletic competitions and cultural events.
The stadium is situated East of the Zappeion Gardens and North of the Ardittos Hill, where Ilissos River flows underground. The stadium was hollowed out in a natural ravine between the hills of Agras and Ardittos. The side opposite to the entrance ended with an artificial hemicircle, called sphendone. In the arena, track has an elliptical form.
In ancient times, and at the very same location, the Panathenaic Stadium was used to perform part of the Panathenaea festivities, dedicated to Goddess Athena, known to be the most important festivities of the glorious city of Athens.
The construction of the original stadium is attributed to the statesman and orator Lykourgos, at 329 B.C. The ground belonged to an Athenian citizen by the name of Deinias, who ceded it to the city for the construction of an arena, as well as an amphitheater for the Panathenaea games and festivities. But it was five centuries later, in 140 A.D. that the stadium became one of the most magnificent monuments of Athens, thanks to Roman Emperor Herod Atticus, who replaced the original wooden seating with marble from Mt. Penteli, and capacity was increased to seat 50.000 spectators.
During the dark times when Greece, was occupied by barbarians, the stadium was stripped of most marble and all ornaments. At around 1856, after the liberation of Greece, Evangelis Zappas, the benefactor, raised the issue of the renovation of the historic site.
In 1874, and in order to host a first attempt for the revival of the Olympic Games in the following year, a bridge was built over Ilissos River, and improvements were made in the track and field areas of the stadium.
In 1895 and through 1900, the marble seating restoration, funded by yet another benefactor, Georgios Averoff, was greatly improved so that the 1st Olympic Games of 1896 could take place.
In antiquity, athletic competitions such as racing, boxing, jumping, javelin-throwing, chariot and horse racing, had taken place in the stadion. These games were celebrated every year during the great Panathenaea, in the month of Hecatomveon, about the end of July. Then in the midst of unparalleled splendor, 300 oxen were drawn for sacrifice before the altar of the goddess.
As close as 200 m. from the Panathenaic Olympic Stadium of Athens, and 600 m. from the Museum of Cycladic Art, we will recommend Pi Athens Hotel, rated as "superb" by guests of Booking.com. All guests benefit from discounted rates at Holmes Place Health Club nearby with access to the swimming pool, the sauna, the hammam and the gym. Guests can enjoy the on-site bar. Each room includes Cocomat mattresses and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, and free Wi-Fi. Some units have a seating area for your convenience. You will also find a kettle in the room. For your comfort, you will find free toiletries, a hairdryer and a kettle for your tea or coffee.
|Athens City Highlights Segway Tour |
See the sights of modern and ancient Athens on a 2-hour Segway tour, led by a local guide! On your self-balancing electric Segway, glide through the city streets, stopping by famous monuments to hear tales about this charismatic city. Admire sights of the Acropolis of Athens, visit Zappeion Gardens, and then see top Athens' attractions like Hadrian’s Arch, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Panathenaic Olympic Stadium and more! This small-group tour is limited to 12 people,