Ancient Olympia

One of the most important sanctuaries of antiquity, dedicated to the father of the gods Olympian Zeus. Olympia is the birthplace and celebrated in antiquity the Olympic Games.
The excavations at Olympia began in May 1829, two years after the battle of Navarino, by French archaeologists. The findings (parts of the metopes and opisthodomos portico of the temple of Zeus) were transferred to the Louvre Museum, where they are exposed today. When the Greek government was informed of the looting of artifacts, excavations were interrupted to resume later in 1875 by German archaeologists. Investigations are continuing to this day by the German Archaeological Institute in Athens under the supervision of the Antiquities Olympia.
The sanctuary of Olympia spreads around the southern foot of the wooded hill of Kronos, between the confluence of Alpheus and Kladeos river. The valley between the two rivers was in ancient times full of wild olive trees, poplars, oaks and pine trees, so the sanctuary was named Altis, ie grove.
The Altis is surrounded by an enclosure within which are the main religious buildings and offerings of the sanctuary. Outside the enclosure were the auxiliary space, ie the houses of priests, baths, rooms preparation of athletes, and hostels.
The beginning of worship and the mythical confrontations that took place in Olympia lost in the mists of time. Since the Helladic is a residential facility in the area. Around 1200 BC in the area of the sanctuary are installed Aetolians Doric sex led by Oxilos. Then probably began the worship of Zeus and Olympia from Zeus was worship. Soon evolving at the national center. During the early archaic era established the first buildings of the sanctuary. The Olympic Games began in 776 BC in honor of Zeus. The games, which from the beginning to the end of the institution of a religious character and strict ritual, conducted at the beginning of the space in front of the altar, while the organized facilities became increasingly necessary with the constant increase in the number of both the athletes and spectators. Simultaneously and sports were enriched in number and variety.

                

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