Trip Start Jul 24, 2010
17Trip End Aug 10, 2010
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Olympia was famous for two reasons: (1) the first Olympics were held there in 776 BC and was a special occasion every four years because a peace truce took place during the Games, and (2) the Temple of Zeus held the Statue of Zeus which was one of the seven Ancient Wonders of the World.
After the museum we toured the site and ruins of the ancient Olympics, also a UNESCO world heritage site. This was the site of the first Olympics in 776 BC. Every four years the Olympic Games were renamed in honor of the victor. The Games continued throughout the Classical and Hellenistic periods of Greece. In 356 BC, King Philip II competed and won in the equestrian contests. The Games ended 393 AD when Roman Emperor Theodosios abolished them.
Once we entered the site we saw the gymnasium from the 2nd century BC. Here, athletes trained for throwing and running events. After we saw ruins, from the 3rd century BC, of a building where athletes practiced jumping, wrestling, and boxing. Next we saw ruins of the workshop of Pheidas, who built the statue of Zeus. Next we saw the ruins of a hotel from the 4th century BC. From there we walked through the entrance to the stadium. It was able to hold up to 45,000 spectators. The track was 200m long. Somehow I dragged my out-of-shape self up and back on the track. Finally we saw the Temple of Hera built in the 7th century BC. The Hermes statue that we saw in the museum was originally in this temple.
We arrived in Delphi in the late afternoon. Although we didn't view the ancient site today we did tour the museum.
In the evening we walked through the sleepy town of Delphi with a few people from our tour. We stopped for drinks at a local bar.