The ruins of ancient Olympia are among the most important antiquities to Greece. Their main importance is now as one of the largest sanctuaries of Zeus in ancient Greece. Olympia is located in the western part of the country, region Elis, right on the west coast of the Pelloponnes.
These ancient ruins consist of two parts - the lower is the city Olympia, then the Olympic fields, in which were held the traditional Olympic Games. Olympia started as a small forest, where the very sanctuary of Zeus was. This area is located on rivers Alfios and its tributary Kladeos.
In Olympia were held the Olympic Games of antiquity. Located in Elis, in northwest Pelloponnes, Ancient Greece. Olympia is located in the valley between the river Alfios and its tributary Kladeos. In close proximity to ancient Olympia is the modern city, which bears the same name and has about 11 000 population.
Olympics start in the 8 century BC They started as a sign of truce between the three kings. Began in 776 BC, Olympic Games were held until 393 BC, every four years, during the full moon, after the summer harvest. In those distant centuries, games are under strict rules.
They were attended by only the choicest men. Each winner was crownes with a garland of an olive tree that grew in the temple of Zeus. Severe punishments, even death threatened every woman, who tried to look even at the Olympic competition arena. The games were a forbidden territory for women.
Competitors stood their tents around the Olympic village. There are accommodations for all guests - spectators at these games - poets who sung heroes, writers who described the winning games; artists - who drew those games, philosophers - who exported oratorical speeches in the audience of these games.
Entire 1000 years of glory Olympia wore - the city was rich, owned a number of values, gold objects, weapons, armor, combat equipment, but everything that was stolen after the enemy invasion in 395. All temples were looted and destroyed by Getty and the Goths. Between 425 -580 years in the Balkans broke terrible earthquake that destroyed much of the Olympic village.
In 1838, German scientist Ernst Kurtsius was intrigued by Olympia, and concluded an agreement with the Greek State to conduct excavations there. He was obliged to leave the country all original articles, and may refer only those who were not of national importance.
Excavations began in 1875 and completed 12 years later when the Olympic Museum was opened. Sanctuary of Zeus was built in 5 th century BC, This structure with its dimensions, size and decoration has no equal in all of Olympia. The temple once housed a statue of Zeus, which today no longer exists, but is considered one of the seven miracles the ancient world.
Statue of Zeus in Olympia is sculpted by Phidias ivory and gilt bronze, with a towering 12 meters high. Temple of Zeus is considered one of the largest temples in Greece - reaching 64 m long and 28 meters wide.
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