Featured Greece Story | Birthplace of the Olympic Games
Before box seats, selection committees and sequined leotards.
When the Olympic Games returned to the land of their birth in 2004, many were surprised
to learn that their classical home was not Athens but a small riverside sanctuary
some 160 miles south, called Olympia. Today, it is an evocative experience to visit
this serene outpost. Archaeologists have unearthed the ancient stadium, complete
with its original running track and even a marble-inlaid starting line. Olympia
is a dreamy place today, but the pagan festival was anything but peaceful. Every
fourth summer, 50,000 sports fans would converge on Olympia, overwhelming the modest
local facilities. The atmosphere resembled a badly planned rock festival. The only
two inns at Olympia were reserved for VIPs, so everyone else camped on the hillsides:
Plato himself once had to share a tent with snoring strangers.
Read More About Olympia
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