Olympia Greece is the site where the ancient olympic games were held every four years by the Greeks. Today, we are fortunate to be able to visit the archaeological site of the ruins. The site is also contained the Temple of Zeus, featuring the Statue of Zeus, one of the 7 ancient wonders of the world. I was aboard MSC Poesia when we called on Katakolon Greece, the nearest port to Olympia. Naturally I had to explore the ancient Olympic site.
Located just a short train ride away, visiting the site is easy to get to. Only 25 miles away, a 45 minute train ride is only 10 Euros round trip. Catch the train at the edge of town. You’ll have plenty of time to visit the ruins and be back to stroll the small waterside village.
The ancient Olympics were held every 4 years from 776 BCE to 393 CE. The first event was a foot race. The games eventually expanded to include wrestling, chariot racing, javelin, discus, jumping and the pentathlon. the original Olympics came to an end in 393 CE when emperor Theodosius put an end to all cult practices. The site fell into decline, was partially destroyed under emperor Theodosius II in 426 CE, destroyed further by earthquakes in 522 and 551 and eventually covered in silt from the nearby rivers. The site was rediscovered in 1766 and excavations started in 1829.
The archeological site is impressive. Many of the ruins are still standing and make for great photo ops. Some of the more important ruins at the site are the Stadium, featuring an arched tunnel used as an entrance to the stadium. One of the arches is still intact. The Temple of Zeus contained the Statue of Zeus, one of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World. The Philippeion is a circular memorial temple which contained statues of Alexander the Great and others.