Stadium at Olympia

Olympia Stadion
Stadium at Olympia
Location Olympia, Greece
Capacity 50,000
Surface Grass, Stones
2004 Summer Olympics
Panhellenic Games
The vaulted tunnel leading into the stadium
The 'exedra' (stone platform) on which the judges sat, located on the south bank of the stadium

The stadium at the archaeological site of Olympia, Greece is located to the east of the sanctuary of Zeus. It was the location of many of the sporting events at the Ancient Olympic Games.


The Olympic stadium was a holy place for the ancient Greeks, as this is where sporting activities dedicated to Zeus were held. The stadium was originally located within the temenos, with spectators able to view races from the slopes of Mt. Kronos. It was gradually relocated east until it reached its present location in the early 5th century BC. The stadium is connected with the sanctuary by a vaulted stone passageway.

The track is 212.54 m (697.3 ft) long and 28.5 m (94 ft) wide and surrounded by grassy banks on all sides. All the seats were made of mud and on the southern slope there was a stone platform, the exedra, on which the Hellanodikai, the judges, would sit. Opposite this, on the north slope, was an altar to Demeter Chamyne. The stadium could hold 50,000 spectators.

The games were held between 776 BC and 393 AD. Greek legends suggest that the games were held even earlier, from the tenth to the eleventh century BC. According to records, the earliest that we know of the games being held here were during the revival of The Festival of Zeus in 776 BC. The games were held every four years at the beginning, and the middle of the "Great Year".

There were three stadia constructed. The first one, (Stadium I), was created during the archaic period. It was mainly used to hold games for the contestants of nearby city-states of Greece. (Stadium II) was built to the east of the first stadium. In addition, a racetrack was also built. It was built next to a large hillside that served as a natural sitting area. The third stadium, (Stadium III), was built mainly to hold larger audiences. Along the embankments surrounding the stadium are large wells that not only served as water offerings, but also served as votive offerings, mostly of bronze..

Women competed on the site in the Heraean Games held in honor of Hera, the wife of Zeus.

The Olympic games were held for the last time during the year 393 AD. Emperor Theodosius, a Roman Emperor, issued a ban on all acts of paganism and any kinds of sanctuary activity.[1][2]

During the 2004 Summer Olympics, it hosted the shot put events.[3][4][5]


Media related to Olympia - Stadium at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 37°38′21″N 21°37′59″E / 37.63917°N 21.63306°E / 37.63917; 21.63306

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