Goodie In Greece

gone greek

Ancient Olympia

on August 18, 2013

IMG_4144Time to drop some history! The Olympics were the Ancient World’s biggest sporting event, bringing temporary peace to warring states and great fame and fortune to competitors. Back then, however, only men were allowed to compete — and they did most of it naked! Held in honor of Zeus, the Ancient Olympic Games took place every four years from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. The Games lasted about five days and included wrestling, chariot and horse racing, the pentathlon, and pankration (a vicious form of fisticuffs with very few rules). IMG_4158

The event also gave writers, historians, and poets the opportunity to read their works before large audiences, while politicians and traders could discuss issues in an atmosphere of festivity and peace. Due to the destructive forces of Theodosius II and various earthquakes, little remains of the buildings of Ancient Olympia. Fortunately, tourists like us are permitted to explore what’s left — the remnants of gymnasiums, sanctuaries, workshops, and housing. The original Olympic stadium, which could seat about 45,000 spectators, is entered through a stone archway. The start and finish lines for the 120-meter race and the judges’ seats have survived. Many tourists, both children and adults, took the opportunity to run around the same venue in which many of the world’s best (male) athletes competed thousands of years ago.

En route back to Athens, we stopped for coffee in Lagkadia, an awesome little town built right into the side of a mountain.

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