Category Archive : Peloponesse

Athens City Sightseeing Tour with Acropolis and the New Acropolis Museum from 38.00 €
Daily 08:45 – 13:00
A comprehensive tour of Athens. Drive through the centre of Athens, past the Academy, the University and the Parliament with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and see Hadrian’s Arch and the stadium where the first modern Olympics took place in 1896. Continue to the Acropolis for a visit to the ancient hilltop complex that was once the Cradle of Western civilization and today overlooks the sprawling city below. Along our journey into antiquity we’ll explore the Acropolis with its treasures. We’ll admire the Parthenon, dedicated to the goddess Athena, and the Temple of Zeus. We’ll see remarkable displays of an ancient world during the visit to the Acropolis Museum, containing antiquities giving visitors insight into the lives of Athenians centuries ago

Cape Sounion in the Afternoon from 33.00 €
Daily 15:00 – 19:15
Drive along the scenic coastal road past the beach resorts to the most southern point of Attica to Cape Sounion where the white marble pillars of the Temple of Poseidon stand. En-route there is an extraordinary view of the Saronic Gulf and the little islands offshore.

Athens By Night
Every Tue., Wed., Thu. & Sat 20:00 – Midnight
An evening drive past the illuminated Acropolis and stop for a drink at a nearby cafe to enjoy the view. Dinner at a typical Athenian taverna with bouzouki music and Greek folk dancing.

Ancient Corinth from 51.00 €
April -October on Mon. & Fri 08:15 – 14:00
Drive south to the Corinth Canal that connects Aegean and Ionian Seas. Visit the ancient town of Corinth where St. Paul lived and preached for almost two years. The remains of the city which include the Agora and the Temple of Apollo (6th c. B.C.) clearly show how rich and important Corinth was in ancient times. With the professional tour guide you will explore an ancient city that several empires fought over throughout the centuries. Before returning to Athens stop at the site of the ancient port Kechries where St. Paul disembarked.

One day Tour to Delphi (with / without lunch) from 49.00 €
Daily 08:30 – 18:30
Home of the Sanctuary of Apollo, Delphi is the most famous site in Classical Greece. On the slopes of Mount Parnassus, hear thee myths about the oracle and tour the excavations. Walk the Sacred Way to the 4th century Temple of Apollo and view the statues immortalising the strength of the athletes who once competed in the Pythian Games held in honour of Apollo and the Arts. A visit to the museum to admire the bronze Charioteer is included.

Full Day Tour to Argolis (with / without lunch) from 49.00 €
Every Mon, Tue., Wed., Thu., Sat.08:00 – 18:30
After a short stop on the bridge crossing the Corinth Canal continue to Mycenae where 19th century excavations described by Homer can be seen. Visit the Beehive Tomb and the Lion’s Gate – Europe’s oldest known monument. On to Epidaurus via the port town of Nauplion to see the 2,000 year old amphitheatre known for its perfect acoustics.

One Day Saronic Island Cruise (with lunch) at discounted price.
Daily 08:00 a.m. – 20:00
Pick up from Athens center and transfer to the port for embarkation. Visit the beautiful islands of the Saronic Gulf; Aegina, Hydra and Poros.

Two Day Tour to Delphi
Daily
Day 1 – Depart Athens driving through the towns of Thebes and Levadia and the quaint village of Arachova, famous for its colourful carpets, to Delphi. Visit the Sanctuary of Apollo situated on the slopes of Mt. Parnassus, the Treasury of the Athenians, the Temple of Apollo and the museum containing the ancient Greek bronze sculpture “the Charioteer” and many other masterpieces. Dinner and overnight in Delphi.

Day 2 – Breakfast at the hotel. Morning at leisure in Delphi. Enjoy the scenery, return to the museum. Afternoon departure for Athens.

Two Day Tour to Argolis
April – October on Tue. & Wed.
Day 1 – After short stop at the bridge crossing the Corinth Canal continue to Mycenae where 19th century excavations described by Homer can be seen. Visit the Beehive Tomb and the Lion’s Gate – Europe’s oldest known monument. Continue to the lovely port town of Nafplion. Afternoon at leisure. Dinner and overnight in Nauplion.
Day 2 – Breakfast at hotel and morning at leisure in Nafplion. Depart for Epidaurus to visit the 4th century B.C. theatre famous for its perfect acoustics. Return to Athens early this evening.

Three Day Delphi & Meteora Tour
April – October on Tue., Wed. & Sun.
Day 1 – Depart Athens driving through the towns of Thebes and Levadia to Delphi. Visit the Sanctuary of Apollo situated on the slopes of Mt. Parnassus, the Treasury of the Athenians, the Temple of Apollo and the museum. Overnight in Delphi.
Day 2 – After breakfast, depart Delphi and enjoy an interesting drive through Central Greece, Thermopylae, famous for the heroic defence by Leonidas and his brave 300 Spartans against the invading Persians. (short stop) and the town of Lamia before reaching Kalambaka. Overnight in Kalambaka.
Day 3 – The breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage monasteries of Meteora are our first stop today. Following breakfast set out for Meteora to visit the ageless monasteries containing priceless historical and religious treasures, which appear to be suspended in air on top of huge granite rocks. With the professional tour guide visit two of the six Eastern Orthodox monasteries that cling impressively to immense, rounded rock towers overlooking the town. Return to Athens via the towns of Trikala, Lamia.

Three Day Classical Tour
April – October on Mon., Tue., Thu & Sat.
Day 1 – Drive South on the coastal road to Corinth Canal. Continue to Epidaurus to visit the theatre with its perfect acoustics and proceed to Mycenae to see the Lions’ Gate and Beehive Tomb. O/n Olympia.
Day 2 – This morning visit the Sanctuary of the Olympian Zeus and the museum. Drive to Delphi for o/n.
Day 3 – Walk on the sacred way and visit the Castalia Spring, the Sanctuary of Apollo and the museum. Return to Athens stopping at the picturesque village of Arachova.

Four Day Classical Tour (with Meteora)
April – October on Mon., Tue. Thu & Sat.
Day 1 – Drive via the coastal road stopping at the Corinth Canal and on to Epidaurus to visit the amphitheatre with its perfect acoustics and proceed to Mycenae to see the Lions Gate and Beehive Tomb. Overnight at Olympia.
Day 2 – This morning visit the site of the first Olympic Games; the Sanctuary of the Olympian Zeus and the museum. Drive on to Delphi for overnight.
Day 3 – After the visit at the Sanctuary of Apollo and the museum, depart for Kalambaka passing through numerous picturesque villages and typical towns of Central Greece and a short stop in Thermopylae. Overnight in Kalambaka.
Day 4 – Visit Meteora this morning and among striking scenery, perched on top of huge rocks which seem to be suspended in mid-air, stand ageless monasteries where there are exquisite specimens of Byzantine art. Return to Athens via Trikala, Lamia.

Peloponnese map

Visit Mycenae and the island of Poros in one (1) day!

– Short photo stop at Corinth Canal.
– Continue to Mycenae, the Homeric City of Atreides.
– At Mycenae, walk through the Lions’ Gate, see the Cyclopean Walls, and the Royal Tombs.
– Finish with your sightseeing and drive to Galatas, take the small boat, and cross over to the island of Poros.
– On Poros, free time for strolling around the quay side or have lunch at a seaside Greek traditional tavern.
– Departure for the return to Athens, early afternoon.

PRICES: All travel agents, in Greece and worldwide, offer the same tour at different prices. We are sure that our prices for this tour is not matched by any other company. After 60 years organizing tours throughout Greece we have secured the best deals in all aspects of travel. So, why pay more?
Our discounted prices, per adult, for this tour are:

73.00 € With lunch, or 66.00 € without lunch

Prices Include
-Ferry boat from Galatas to Poros
-Transportation by modern air-conditioned coach
-Pick-up service from your hotel or near it (see the list of hotels in the footer)
-Lunch in Poros (optional)
-Taxes and V.A.T.

Nafplion old city

Organized every Monday between April – October, only.
Bus terminal: In Syntagma area, heart of Athens at 08:30, return to Athens at +/- 19:30
Free pick-up/drop off service starts at 07:30 am (See the list of hotels in the footer)

Details & prices


Corinth canal-Epidaurus-Nafplion(o/n)-Mycenae-Olympia(o/n)-Delphi(o/n)-Thermopylae-Meteora(o/n)- Athens

HOTELS in NAFPLION: (3* half board) VICTORIA and (4* half board) AMFITRYON
HOTELS at Olympia: (3* half board) OLYMPIC VILLAGE and (4*) ARTY GRAND
HOTELS in Delphi: (3* half board) HERMES and (4* half board) AMALIA
HOTELS in Kalambaka: (3* half board) ORFEAS, and (4* half board) AMALIA

PRICES: All travel agents, in Greece and worldwide, offer the same tour at different prices.
We believe that our prices for this tour is not matched by any other company.
After 60 years organizing tours throughout Greece we have secured the best deals in all aspects of travel.
So, why pay more? Our discounted prices, per adult, for this tour are:

Two choices Double room Single room
Option 1: 3* hotel 422.00 € Half board 538.00 € Half board
Option 2: 4* hotel 522.00 € Half board
includes arrival transfer offer
666.00 € Half board
includes arrival transfer offer

Entrances to museums / sites (must be added):
* Under 19 and E.U.students are free of charge.
* Other students & E.U. citizens over 65 y.o. pay +24.00
* Everybody else pays +48.00 €

Special discounts: (One option of 5% discount is applicable).
* Persuade a friend, share a triple room with your friend and save 5%
* Persuade your friends, make a team of 5 or more adults and save 5%
* Take advantage of our PAY IN ADVANCE 5% discount (see in the footer)
* Combine it with the 1 day cruise and pay a special price for the package.

Description


Visiting Epidaurus, Nafplion, Mycenae, Olympia, Delphi & Kalambaka

The Amazing open THEATRE OF EPIDAURUS The priests of the sanctuary of god Asclepius were excellent surgeons. On the ground of the sanctuary, the administration of the Asclipieion, in order to entertain the patients, decided to build a theatre. Today, next to the sanctuary of Asclepius, there is a small museum, displaying the instruments and tools used by the priests, excellent surgeons, to perform even brain operations.

NAFPLION – the “Venice” of Greece
Modern architecture hasn’t spoiled the old town of Nafplion, which is a feast for the eye. Nafplion was the capital of the Greek state in the early 1830s. Here, is the first residential palace for the young Bavarian Prince, Otto, the first king of the new country after the revolution against the Turks. The old town is beautiful, with old mansions and paved roads. The town’s fortresses, the Palamidi and the Akronafplia, played a key role during the war of independence. Frankish, Venetian and Turkish conquerors left their signature in the town and strongly influenced its culture, architecture and traditions during the years of occupation. Ancient walls, medieval castles, monuments and statues, Ottoman fountains and Venetian or neoclassical buildings attract the visitor with their unique architecture and beauty.

MYCENAE – “City in gold” Mycenae, the city that controlled both the land and sea routes, was the kingdom of mythic Agamemnon. Myths related to history have inspired poets and writers over the centuries from Homer and the Greek tragedies of the classical period to contemporary literary and artistic creations. The site was uncovered in 1874 by Heinrich Schlieman, who also excavated the site of Troy. You enter the citadel through the impressive Lions’ Gate.

OLYMPIA & the OLYMPIC GAMES The site of Olympia, was the location of the ancient Olympic Games, with the first recorded win in 776 BC. In addition to the numerous temples and sanctuaries, there are remains of sporting structures, such as the ancient Stadium, the Gymnasium, the Palaestra and others.

DELPHI – The famous “temple bank”. The pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, location on the oracle of Apollo, was the spiritual centre of the Greek world. Situated in a spectacular natural setting on the mountain of Parnassus, it was the symbol of Greek cultural unity from the 8th century BC onwards.

Driving from Delphi to Kalambaka you take a short stop at Thermopyllae, the place where Leonidas and the 300 Spartans fought the Persians. Overnight in kalambaka.

KALAMBAKA – The unique “ART OF NATURE”. Travel on the rocks of Meteora and visit 2 monasteries that are open on the day that you visit Meteora. Return to Kalambaka for lunch and after lunch start the return and arrive in Athens at +/- 19:30

Highlights


Short photo stop at Corinth canal
Visit the sanctuary of Asclepius and the Epidaurus Theatre
Proceed to the romantic Nafplion and spend the night there
Visit the Mycenae Archaeological site & Tomb of Atreus
Visit the Olympia Archaeological site & Museum
Visit the Delphi Archaeological site & Museum
Visit 2 of the Meteora monasteries that are open on the day you visit Meteora
1 night hotel accommodation in Nafplion
1 night hotel accommodation at Olympia
1 night hotel accommodation in Delphi
1 night hotel accommodation in Kalambaka
4 dinners & 4 breakfasts
Services of the Professional guide along the tour
Transport by modern air-conditioned coach
Pick up / drop off service from central hotels in Athens(see the list in the footer)
All taxes except the hotel overnight tax (0.50-4.00 € per night)

Not included: The entrances to museums and sites, drinks, beverages & Tips
Juniors under 19, and E.U. students are free to enter sites & museums.

More info & Map


– These tours are organized by 3 Tour Operators. All the Travel Agents sell the same tours at discounted rates.
– Start the communication, and choose the agent that offers the tour at the price that suits your budget.

* Read the 4 steps 2 book that you find in the footer and we look forward to receive your request.
* When we receive the message from the bank that the money have been deposited, we’ll send you the voucher.

MAP – ROUTE OF THE TOUR


In the footer of this website you find the “4 steps to make a booking”. If our offer looks interesting, please send us the booking form.

CLICK here and see ALL THE GUIDED TOURS that start from Athens. Detailed information on each tour is included.

 

Stopping at Corinth canal-Epidaurus-Nafplion(o/n)-Mycenae-Olympia(o/n)-Delphi(o/n)-Athens

Operates APRIL-OCTOBER every Monday, departs 08:30, returns to Athens at +/- 19:30
Free hotel pick-up/drop off service starts at 07:30. (See the link in the footer of this website)

Hotels and prices


HOTELS in NAFPLION: (3* half board) VICTORIA and (4* half board) AMFITRYON
HOTELS at OLYMPIA: (3* half board) ANTONIOS and (4* half board) ARTY GRAND
HOTELS in DELPHI: (3* half board) HERMES and (4* half board) AMALIA

PRICES: All travel agents, in Greece and worldwide, offer the same tour at different prices. We are sure that our prices for this tour is not matched by any other company. After 60 years organizing tours throughout Greece we have secured the best deals in all aspects of travel. So, why pay more? Our discounted prices, per adult, for this tour are:

Two choices Double room Single room
Option 1: 3* hotel 372.00 € Half board 462.00 € Half board
Option 2: 4* hotel
includes arrival transfer offer
442.00 € Half board 547.00 € Half board

Entrances to museums / sites (must be added):
* Under 19 and E.U.students are free of charge.
* Other students & E.U. citizens over 65 y.o. pay +24.00
* Everybody else pays +48.00 €

Special discounts: (One option of 5% discount is applicable).
* Persuade a friend, share a triple room with your friend and save 5%
* Persuade your friends, make a team of 5 or more adults and save 5%
* Take advantage of our PAY IN ADVANCE 5% discount (see in the footer)
* Combine it with the 1 day cruise and pay a special price for the package.

Description


Visiting Epidaurus, Nafplion, Mycenae, Olympia, & Delphi

The Amazing open THEATRE OF EPIDAURUS The priests of the sanctuary of god Asclepius were excellent surgeons. On the ground of the sanctuary, the administration of the Asclipieion, in order to entertain the patients, decided to build a theatre. Today, next to the sanctuary of Asclepius, there is a small museum, displaying the instruments and tools used by the priests, excellent surgeons, to perform even brain operations.

NAFPLION – the “Venice” of Greece
Modern architecture hasn’t spoiled the old town of Nafplion, which is a feast for the eye. Nafplion was the capital of the Greek state before Athens in the early 1830s. Here was the first residential palace for the young Bavarian Prince, Otto, the first king of the new country after the liberation from the Turks. The old town is beautiful, with old mansions and paved roads. The town’s fortresses, the Palamidi and the Akronafplia, played a key role during the war of independence. Frankish, Venetian and Turkish conquerors left their signature in the town and strongly influenced its culture, architecture and traditions during the years of occupation. Ancient walls, medieval castles, monuments and statues, Ottoman fountains and Venetian or neoclassical buildings attract the visitor with their unique architecture and beauty.

MYCENAE – “City in gold” Mycenae, the city that controlled both the land and sea routes, was the kingdom of mythic Agamemnon. Myths related to history have inspired poets and writers over the centuries from Homer and the Greek tragedies of the classical period to contemporary literary and artistic creations. The site was uncovered in 1874 by Heinrich Schlieman, who also excavated the site of Troy. You enter the citadel through the impressive Lions’ Gate.

OLYMPIA & the OLYMPIC GAMES The site of Olympia was the location of the ancient Olympic Games, with the first recorded win in 776 BC. In addition to the numerous temples and sanctuaries, there are remains of sporting structures, such as the ancient Stadium, the Gymnasium, the Palaestra and others.

DELPHI – The famous “temple bank”. The pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, location of the oracle of Apollo, was the spiritual centre of the Greek world. Situated in a spectacular natural setting on the mountain of Parnassus, it was the symbol of Greek cultural unity from the 8th century BC onwards.

Driving from Delphi to Athens you stop at Arachova for a short stop and arrive in Athens at +/- 19:30

Highlights


Short photo stop at Corinth canal
Visit the sanctuary of Asclepius and the Epidaurus Theatre
Proceed to the romantic Nafplion and spend the night there
Visit the Mycenae Archaeological site & Tomb of Atreus
Visit the Olympia Archaeological site & Museum
Visit the Delphi Archaeological site & Museum
1 night hotel accommodation in Nafplion town
1 night hotel accommodation at Olympia
1 night hotel accommodation in Delphi
3 dinners & 3 breakfasts
Services of the Professional guide along the tour
Transport for 4 days on modern air-conditioned coach
Pick up / drop off service from central hotels in Athens(see the list in the footer)
All taxes except the hotel overnight tax (0.50-4.00 € per night)

Not included: drinks, beverages & Tips

More info & Map


– These tours are organized by 3 Tour Operators. All the Travel Agents sell the same tours at discounted rates.
– Start the communication, and choose the travel agent that sounds honest and suits your budget.

* Read the 4 steps 2 book that you find in the footer and we look forward to receive your request.
* When we receive the message from the bank that the money have been deposited, we’ll send you the voucher.

MAP – ROUTE OF THE TOUR


In the footer of this website you find the “4 steps to make a booking”. If our offer looks interesting, please send us the booking form.

CLICK here and see ALL THE GUIDED TOURS that start from Athens. Detailed information on each tour is included.

 

According to mythology, the town was founded by Nafplios, the son of Poseidon and Anymone. The town’s history traces back to the prehistoric era when soldiers from Nafplion participated in the Argonautic expedition and the Trojan War. The town declined during the Roman times and flourished again during the Byzantine times. Frankish, Venetian and Turkish conquerors left their sigfmature in the town and strongly influenced its culture, architecture and traditions during the centuries. Ancient walls, medieval castles, monuments and statues, Ottoman fountains and Venetian or neoclassical buildings mesmerize the visitor with their unique architecture and beauty.

Spend an afternoon and a morning in Nafplion town. Modern architecture hasn’t spoiled the old town of Nafplion, which is a feast for the eye. Nafplion was the capital of the liberated Greek state, after the island of Aegina but before Athens, in the early 1830s. Here, is the first residential palace for the young Bavarian Prince, Otto, the first king of the new country after the revolution against the Turks. The old town is beautiful, with old mansions and paved roads. The two fortresses, the Palamidi and the Akronafplia, played a key role during the war of independence. Many restaurants, traditional Greek tavernas, cafeterias, souvenir and other fashion shops make your stay an enjoyable one.

1st day: Corinth Canal – Mycenae (visit) – lunch – Nafplion, afternoon free to explore the oldtown. Overnight.

2nd day: Nafplion – Epidaurus (visit) – return to Athens.

PRICES: All travel agents, in Greece and worldwide, offer the same tour at different prices. We are sure that our prices for this tour is not matched by any other company. After 60 years organizing tours throughout Greece we have secured the best deals in all aspects of travel. So, why pay more? Our discounted price, per adult, for this tour is:

Half board 4* hotel 178,00 € per person | Single supplement 4* hotel 36,00 €
Half board 3* hotel 153,00 € per person | Single supplement 3* hotel 29,00 €

The above rates do not include the “City TAX” for hotels that is paid by the guests upon check-out: 4* hotel: 3,00 € and 3* hotel: 1,50 € per night, per room.

In the footer of this website you find the “4 steps to make a booking”. If our offer sounds interesting, send us the booking form.

CLICK here and see ALL THE GUIDED TOURS that start from Athens. Detailed information on each tour is included.

 

The archaeological site of Olympia ranks among the most important historic sites of Greece. Here, the ancient Olympic Games begun. The site incorporates all remains of the athletic premises used for the preparation and celebration of the Olympic Games, administrative and other buildings and monuments. With the summer Olympics, the winter Olympics, the youth Olympics, etc. almost every year the ceremony of the lighting of the Olympic flame takes place.

MONUMENTS and highlights
Temple of Zeus, Temple of Ηera, Voulefterion, Ancient Olympic stadium, Ancient gymnasium, Palaestra, Leonidaion hostel, Workshop of Pheidias, Theokoleon, Zanes (penalties to cheaters), Philippeion, thye 7 Echo Hall, The Metroon, Altar of Zeus, Altar of Hera, Prehistoric building, Pelopion, Nymphaeon, the villa of Nero, Baths, Heroon, Hostels, Leonidaion baths, Kladeos baths, Kronion baths, Olympia’s Treasuries, the Hippodrome.

PHOTOS

EXCAVATIONS
Since 1875, the excavation and preservation of Ancient Olympia has been the responsibility of the German Archaeological Institute of Athens. The first major excavation of Olympia began in 1875, funded by the German government after negotiation of exclusive access by Ernst Curtius. Other archaeologists involved for the dig were Gustav Hirschfeld, George Treu, Adolf Furtwängler, A. Boetticher, Wilhelm Dörpfeld, and Richard Borrmann. They excavated the central part of the sanctuary including the Temple of Zeus, Temple of Hera, Metroon, Voulefterion, Philipeion, the 7-echo Stoa, Treasuries and the Palaestra. Important finds included sculptures from the Temple of Zeus, the Nike of Paeonius, the Hermes of Praxiteles and many bronze statuettes. In total 14,000 objects were recorded. A large collection of the finds are displayed in the museum on the site.

1900–1950
Excavation was continued by Dörpfeld between 1908 and 1929 but a new systematic excavation started in 1936 on the occasion of the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin under Emil Kunze and Hans Schleif. Their excavation focus was on the area to the south of the stadium, the South Stoa, the Bath Complex and the Gymnasion.

1950 to present
Between 1952 and 1966, Kunze and Schleil continued the excavation joined by architect Alfred Mallwitz. They excavated Pheidias’ workshop, the Leonidaion and the north wall of the stadium. They also excavated the southeast section of the sanctuary and out of approximately 140 debris pits found many bronze and ceramic objects along with terracotta roof tiles.

Mallwitz took charge of the excavations between 1972 and 1984 revealing important dating evidence for the stadium, graves, and the location of the Prytaneion. From 1984 to 2000, Helmut Kyrieleis took over the site and the focus shifted to the earlier history of the sanctuary with excavation of the Prytaneion and Pelopion.

Ancient Olympia is the birthplace of the Olympic Games and today the area is one of the most important archaeological places in the world. The Museum of the ancient Olympic Games at Olympia presents exhibits ancient works which cover a long period from the 2nd millennium BC until the 5th century AC.

More than 400 exhibits, dated from the prehistoric period to the 5th century A.D., are presented in thematic groups. The majority comes from Olympia, but also on display there are many ancient works of art from other important sites of Greece .

You get a complete understanding of the historical development of the Olympic Games and the other Panhellenic Games (the Pythian at Delphi, the Nemean at the sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea and the Isthmian Games at the sanctuary of Poseidon near Corinth) through a wide selection of exhibits, as well as information and visual material.

Among the most important exhibits are the gold rings-seals with the first representations of athletic competitions, representative examples of the Minoan and Mycenaean art, bronze and clay geometric figurines of warriors and chariots coming from Olympia. Also, equipment used by athletes, such as discs, halteres (weights for long jump), arryballoi (small oil vases) strigils (for scrapping the dust from the skin) etc. Exhibited in the galleries are interesting inscribed bases of statues of athletes who adorned the sacred Altis, and small bronze figurines of athletes and many vases and vessels decorated with scenes of athletic performances.

Archaeological Museum of Olympia – Overview

Olympia Archaeological Museum of Olympia


One of the top 3 museums in Greece. A collection of marble sculptures that are very well preserved. The highlight of the museum are the East and West pediments from The Temple of Zeus together with the beautiful “Hermes of Praxiteles” sculpture. A collection of ancient artifacts, tools, glass, armor, weapons and other items. Expect to spend at least an hour in the museum.

The three museums of Olympia, 1) the Archaeological Museum, 2) the Museum of the Ancient Olympic Games and 3) the Museum of the History of the Excavations at Olympia, are within minutes walk from the modern Olympia town and the archaeological site.

The Archaeological Museum was founded in the 19th c. to house the finds that the excavations brought to light. As a growing wealth of artifacts kept accumulating, even after a century-long archaeological research, it became apparent that the elegant 19th-century building would not suffice. A new museum was built 1966-1975 and underwent a reorganization in 2004, in view of the Athens 2204 Olympic Games.

The museum’s collections are exhibited in 12 halls and over 3,500 years of history, from the 3rd millennium BC when humans first settled at Olympia to the end of Zeus’ sanctuary in the 7th c. AD. The Archaeological Museum of Olympia ranks among the most important museums in Greece. renowned for its sculptures and collection of ancient Greek bronzes, which is the richest in the world.

The two pediments from the Temple of Zeus are among the most magnificent examples of ancient Greek sculpture, and indeed from the period of its zenith. The east pediment shows the preparation for the mythical chariot race between Pelops and King Oinomaos, while the west shows the beloved subject of the struggle between the Centaurs and Lapiths, with the superb figure of Apollo at the centre.

The metopes of the temple represent the Twelve Labours of Heracles, the offering of the Stymphalian birds to Athena, Atlas bearing the apples of the Hesperides to Heracles, and so on. Paionios’ statue of Nike descending from heaven, an ex-voto of the Messenians and Naupactians in 421 BC, is one of the most significant sculptures of Classical times.

Other outstanding exhibits in the Museum are the terracotta group of Zeus with Ganymede, the colossal head attributed to the cult statue of Hera and the “diamond of Olympia”, the famous statue of Hermes with the newborn Dionysus, an original work by Praxiteles, displayed in a hall to itself.

Among the dedications to Zeus by the city-states in gratitude for their victories are bronze tripod cauldrons, vessels, armors, helmets and shields.

Collections

The collection of bronzes

More than 14,000 bronze artifacts, the largest number ever found in a region of the ancient Greek world were buried in the soil of Olympia. Human and animal figurines constitute a popular category of those metal works, dating back as early as in the 9th century BC. They often depict warriors, charioteers and, of course, athletes such as the mid-6th century BC statuette of a discus thrower or the early-5th century statuette of a runner.
An impressive group of the museum exhibits comprise the large bronze cauldrons, often decorated with griffins or sirens, imaginary and daemonic beings inspired by the Orient. Those were luxury offerings to the sanctuary manifesting the prosperity and artistic level that Archaic Greece had reached by the 7th and 6th centuries BC.
Apart from pilgrims and Olympic winners, warriors returning victorious from battlefields expressed their gratitude to Zeus by donating their weapons. Thus, Olympia turned out to be a repository of ancient Greek weaponry with a long series of helmets, shields, cuirasses, spears and other parts of armour recovered from the site and now on display in the museum. Of immense historical siginificance is the helmet of the Athenian General Miltiades, the winner of the battle of Marathon against the Persians (490 BC). A unique example of ancient war instrument is a battering ram of the 5th century BC.

The collection of sculptures

The Museum of Olympia houses masterpieces of classical art such as the sculptures of Zeus’ temple and two celebrated works of Graeco-Roman antiquity, the statues of Nike by Paeonios and Hermes by Praxiteles.
The temple of Zeus dominated the sanctuary not only due to its size but also due to its magnificently decorated pediments and metopes. The centauromachy scene with the emblematic figure of Apollo and the Labours of Hercules are considered the finest sculptures of the so-called Austere Style of the 5th century BC.
No later than 420 BC, Paeonios created his winged goddess Nike, the statue that became synonymous with the iconographic allegory of Victory and has shaped its representations in western art ever since: the statue of Nike is the one featured on the Olympic medals from 1896 to date.

Around 330 BC, the great master Praxiteles sculpted Hermes carrying the infant god Dionysus. This is one of the few superb original statues of the 4th century that survived, as the most celebrated works of this period are known to us solely through their Roman copies.
The statue of Hermes is one of the most magnificent art pieces of the ancient world. It is a symbol of beauty and aesthetics. It is the work of sculptor Praxiteles and depicts the god Hermes holding the infant Dionysos in his left arm. It was discovered during the excavations in Olympia, in 1877 by German archaeologists. The statue is a product of the 4th century B.C. and reflects the features of that period. The image of the god exudes peace and relaxation and his body has athletic characteristics that reflect harmony and eurhythmy. The Hermes of Praxiteles is one of the exhibits of the modern Museum of Olympia with the highest visit rate and is considered as the quintessential model of male beauty.

Pheidias and his workshop

Pheidias and his workshop

When the priests of Olympia decided that the temple of Zeus needed a new cult statue, Pheidias was the very man to be sought for. The artist whose sculptures beautified Athens, came and settled in Olympia and by 430 BC he delivered the colossal gold-and-ivory statue of Zeus, which would be listed among the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Both the chryselephantine Zeus and its counterpart statue of Athena in the Parthenon vanished in the Middle Ages, however Pheidias’ workshop was discovered during the excavations at Olympia and its contents are on display in a special hall of the Archaeological Museum. Raw material residues, tools, jewels and casts offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the sanctum of a leading ancient Greek sculptor who took the trouble to sign his personal cup, inscribing upon the base “I belong to Pheidias”; another unique exhibit at the Museum of Olympia.

FROM ATHENS TO OLYMPIA BY BUS

When you visit Greece the five places that must be included in everybody’s itinerary are:
The Acropolis and the Archaeological museum of Athens, Olympia, Delphi and the “unique” site of the Meteora rocks.
The promotion of Ancient Olympia, a world heritage jewel and birthplace of the Olympic Games, is our concern.
Every year almost 2,000,000 people visit the archaeological site and the Museum of Ancient Olympia. Be one of them.

If you decide to visit Olympia on your own and on the intercity bus:
– The museums are excellent, while in the ancient site, a lot is left to your imagination.
– The visitors, limit their information to the brief description from the good but insufficient signs.

– Acropolis, Olympia and Delphi are 3 ancient sites that a professional tour guide is needed.
The history of Olympia is fascinating and without a tour guide you will leave, feeling that you missed something.
At Olympia, without any doubt, I recommend a young professional tour guide, GEORGIA KARANIKOLOU http://olympiatourguide.gr
Her e mail is: georgia.olympiaguide@gmail.com and her Greek cell phone: + 030-6982 495884. She speaks English fluently. She is very knowledgeable, and she is not afraid to spend the extra time, to talk about the history and the local myths.

From 06.00 – 18.00, a bus departs every +/- 2 hrs, travel from Athens via Pyrgos and connects to the local bus. The phone No of the intercity bus ticket offices in Athens is 210 5136185.

The bus trip from Athens – Pyrgos = 315 km., 5 hours ride, and from Pyrgos-Olympia = 21 km, 30 min. ride. A total of a little under 6 hours if you include the bus connection delay (+/- 20 min).

– FYI the entrance to the archaeological museum and the ancient site at Olympia costs: Adults 12.00 euros, E.U. students and <19 y.o. are free, while other students and E.U. seniors pay 6.00 euro. - In winter season museums/sites close early. On weekends and public holidays, check in advance. - Contact the bus terminal directly ( 210 5134110 - 1) and check the departure times and prices.

CLICK & SEE ALL the guided tours that are organized from Athens and we sell at discounted prices.

Thousands of years in the making, the Olympics began as part of a religious festival honoring the Greek god Zeus in the rural Greek town of Olympia. The idea of the Olympic Games is a philosophy of life, where blending sport and culture with art and education aims to combine in a balanced whole the human qualities of body, will, and, mind. Olympism is a way of life based on respect for human dignity and fundamental universal ethical principles, on the joy of effort and participation, on the educational role of good example, a way of life based on mutual understanding.

The history of the Olympic Games

The Ancient Olympics: Spectators and Events

The Ancient Olympics: Spectators and Events

The Events : In total the Olympic Games consisted of 10 events: running, pentathlon, jumping, discus, javelin, wrestling, boxing, the pangkration, chariot racing, and horse racing.

The history of Olympic Games

Ancient Olympic Games

Ancient Olympic Games

The first Olympic Games were organized in ancient Greece around 776 B.C. and were held with the utmost regularity every four years ever after for over 1000 years, devoted to Zeus, between August 6 and September 19.

The four years period in between two Olympic Games was called an Olympiad and was used as a meter of chronology.

The spirit of sport and friendly rivalry was the ideal of these Olympic games. The “Olympic truce”, that is the ceasing of fighting in the whole Greek world for as long as the Olympic games were on, was strictly observed with one or two excemptions.

The Spartans in 420 BC were excluded from the games on the ground of truce breaking.

In 426BC emperor Theodosius II ordered the destruction of the temples and the Altis was burnt.
Taking part in the Games was a great honor for the athlete and his native city.

The athletes were men of Greek origin that had not commited crime of sacrilege(had done something unholly).

The athletes competed in nude.Women were strickly forbiden to watch the games, with the excemption of the priestess of Demeter Chamyne. Violation of this rule was punishable by death.

According to Pausanias, the only time this rule was broken and the death sentence was not carried out, was the case of Kallipateira, daughter of the Rhodian Diagoras, who came to the stadium disguised as the trainer to encourage her son Peisidorus who was taking part in the games.

In her enthusiasm for his victory jumping over the trainers’ enclosure wall, her chiton fell down revealing her feminity.

The Hellanodikai, spared her life out of respect to her family, the Diagorides, who had three generations of Olympic winners: her father Diagoras, her brothers Eukleas and Kallianaktas and her son Peisidorus.

This incident was the reason for passing the law, which compelled the trainers to attend the stadium nakes, like the athletes..

Organization of the Games

Diskobolos (discus thrower) 2nd century

Diskobolos (discus thrower) 2nd century

The highest dignitaries of the Games were the 12 Hellanodikai (umpires), responsible for organizing the games and application of the rules.

They had the authority to disqualify individuals because of violation of the rules and to impose fines and punish those concerned.

They were helped by the alytai( a kind of policemen), the mastigophoroi(whippers) and the ravdouchoi( staff bearers).

All of them answered to the alytarch(chief of police).

Being part of religious ceremonies, there were also, the theokoloi, who conducted the sacrifices, the spondoforoi, assigned to travel throughout the Greek world to announce the Games and the celebrations, the seers that gave prophecies and had special prestige, the priests for special sacrifices, the flute players, the dancers and the head of ceremonies.

Ten months before the begining of the Games, the Hellanodikai stayed in a special building where they were informed of their duties and learned the rules of the Games.

The athletes had to announce to them their participation one year before the Games began. One month before the Games they had to come to Olympia with their trainers in order to prepare themselves.

The Games lasted five days. During the first day the opening ceremony was carried out.

The athletes registered and in front of the Zeus Orkios, they and their tariners, took a vow(orkos). They vowed that “they compete fairly and without violating the rules”.

The Hellanodikai also took a vow to be honest and fair in their judgements.

The second day included horse and chariot races in the hippodrome and the pentathlon. The third day was the most important.

It included glorious rites devoted to the worship of Zeus in the morning.

There was a large festive procession of priests, athletes, the Hellanodikai, and notables of Ellis and of the other Greek cities.

In the afternoon the foot races were held. The fourth day the so called heavy events – wrestling, boxing, the pankration and the race in armor took place.

The fifth and last day the festive awarding of the prizes was carried out in front of the statue of Zeus.

The crowning of the winners took place amongst the applause, the hymns and songs of the friends and relatives and the celebrations would last until the next morning.

The Olympic winner received as a prize an olive tree crown as well as other important prizes in kind and money and the victory gave the athlete great fame during his lifetime and posthumously.

A victory ode was written especially for him as well as a statue of the athlete was made.

The statue portrayed the ideal of the “good and honest” man.

His native city participated in his victory and his proud fellow citizens knocked down part of the city walls through which he made his entry.

The Events

The foot – race

The foot – race is the oldest contest that took place in Olympia.

The athletes were running nude, in an area around 600 feet (192.27m), called one Stadion.

This distance gave its name to the area used for the performance of the event.

The stadiums, were situated on hillsides or in small valleys, thus enabling the spectators to follow the events.

Later and as the crowd of spectators grew, artificial slopes were built and the spectators sat on the ground. The stadium at Olympia had a capacity of 45,000 spectators.
There are no records of the achievements of the athletes during Archaic times as there were no means of the keeping of time.

Pentathlon

The Ancient Olympics Events

The Ancient Olympics Events

The pentathlon was a combination of events. It included jumping, running, javelin, discus and wrestling.

The athlete had to combine many qualities and skills of the body.

Jumping Similar to the long jump.

The athlete jumped into a pit holding halters in his hands.
Discus An event loved by the Greeks most and known from Homeric poems.

A moment of discus throwing is captured in the famous statue of the Discus-thrower, opposite the Panathinaic Stadium, in Athens.
Javelin One of the favorite events of many mythical heroes. We find the “ekevolon” javelin throwing which was judged by the distance the javelin was thrown, and the “stohastikon” javelin throwing where the javelin was thrown at a specific target.
Wrestling It is refered to for the first time in Homer’s Labors for Patroclos. One of the pentathlon events but also independent in the Panhellenic games. Even today it is called Greek – Roman wrestling.
Boxing One of the oldest events, as shown by the early reference to the event by Homer and the representation of two children boxing on the mural from Akrotiri in Santorini.

The Pangkration

The Pangkration

The Pangkration A combination of wrestling and boxing, it was considered as the most worthy event for men in the games.

The horse races Took place in the hippodrome, a space used for the horse races. The horse races comprised of various events and were conducted with horses, chariots and quadriga.The most spectacular event was the quadriga race, an event in which the most prominent historic personalities had competed.

THE HERAIA

Runners-in-Heraia

Runners-in-Heraia

Independently of the Olympic games, THE HERAIA, foot races for women only in honor of Hera, were also taking place in Olympia. These games were also held every four years .

The women ran having their hair loose, dressed in short tunics. There is a perfect image at a statue in the Athens Archaeological museum of a girl taking part in the games.