Friday, 11 May 2012

our visit to Olympia - Ancient Greece

appropriate to re-post this as the Olympic Torch left Olympia yesterday on its way to London .....

Olympia Greece was the site of the ancient Olympic Games, which were celebrated every four years by the Greeks. Olympia was situated in a valley in Elis, in western Peloponnisos (Peloponnesus), through which runs the Alpheus River.

It was not a town, but only a sanctuary with buildings associated with games and the worship of the gods. Olympia was a national shrine of the Greeks and contained many treasures of Greek art, such as temples, monuments, altars, theaters, statues, and votive offerings of brass and marble. The Altis, or sacred precinct, enclosed a level space about 200 m (about 660 ft) long by nearly 177 m (nearly 580 ft) broad. In this were the chief centers of religious worship, the votive buildings, and buildings associated with the administration of the games.

Katakolon - where our ship docked -  is the gateway to Olympia, where the ancient Greeks flocked every four years for more than a millennium to celebrate the sacred games dedicated to Zeus.

We arrived there on April 1st ..... and drove through the town - of Katakolon - to reach Olympia on a rather wet Friday morning. But it did not last long and the rest of the day was beautiful, though cool.

The French began excavations here in 1829. German explorations of 1875-81 threw much light upon the plans of the buildings; they were resumed in 1936, 1952, and 1960-61. Many valuable objects were discovered, the most important of which was a statue of Hermes, the messenger of the gods, by Praxiteles.

it was a perfect time of year to visit as it was not too crowded and there was evidence that spring had arrived!

more on Olympia in the next blog post.

This blog post HERE is of our arrival 
into Katakolon in Greece.

stay tuned as I have many more blog posts on our 
recent 22 day cruise of the Mediterranean!


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