Essential information for "Mani house - Ktima Kriviana"
Kalyvia Village, Gytheio, Lakonia (Laconia), Peloponnese.(23200)
Upon Arrival in Kalyvia Village:
You will be met upon arrival by George, at the village of Kalyvia. Please call number, +30 6972090333 and we will come and meet you.
Directions from Athens Airport by Car: (292?m)
1- From Athens Airport take signs of the motorway towards Corinth (?????????)
2- Once on the E94 keep going, past Corinth to E65 in the direction of “Tripoli” (???????)
3- Eventually you will see the city of “Tripoli” (???????) on your right-hand side. You now need to start looking out for your turn-off, for the road towards Sparta.
4- You will now turn right to join the national road to Sparta, (??????) (make sure you are not going towards Kalamata!!).
5- After 45Km you will come down the mountain meeting Sparta town,
6- Keep going straight forward, till you meet the sign of “Gythio” (??????).
7- Turn left to the direction of Gythio town.
8- Driving for 30Km now you have to watch so you won’t miss your turn off, for the road towards “Areopoli” (????????).
Turn right as soon as you meet the “Areopolis” exit, and keep driving till you meet the Kotronas/Skoutari/Kalivia sign (????????/ ???????? /???????). At this spot, a Greek Orthodox Church will be at your right- hand side. Turn left at
“Kotronas/Skoutari/Kalivia” sign, till you find the next sign with direction to “Skoutari/Kalivia/Paganea” (???????? ??????? ???????). Turn left at the sign indicating the direction of “Skoutari/Kalivia/Paganea”. Keep driving just following the road, without turning left or right, (be sure that you do not turn right to Skoutari village). This road once followed, will lead you just straight to Kalyvia (???????) village. Once you enter the village, keep driving through. You will drive past a small stone built square with three trees, and a phone booth, where the main road is following 180/o turns to the left, sea view will be in front of you. Please park your car and Call on 0030 6972090333, the villa is a 3 minutes by foot from this point.
Directions from Kalamata’s Airport by car: (90,3Km)
1- Leaving the airport gate, turn left. At the end of the road turn right joining E65 of “Kalamata Tripoli”. (???????? ???????) Keep driving on the same road which changes name to “Iroon Politechniou” (????? ???????????)
2- At the end of the road turn right at “Artemidos” (?????????)
3- At the next turn left at “Likourgou” (?????????) street.
4- Keep driving. Once crossing “Psaron” (?????) street, then the road’s name
changes, to “Kritis” (??????). After counting 7 streets on your right-hand side, on the 8th “Akrita street” (??????) you turn right.
5- This street leads to the sea waterfront.
6- Turn left and follow the coastal road “Navarinou”
(?????????) straight forward till you meet the national road of “Areopoli" – (????????) "Klamata”, (????????) then turn right.
7- Keep driving till you meet the sign to “Gythio”, (??????) few meters out of “Areopoli” town.
8- Turn left following the Areopoli-Gythio (????????-??????) road for 20Km.
9- When you meet the sign to “Kotronas/Skoutari/Kalyvia”, (????????/ ????????/ ???????) at this point a Greek Orthodox Church will be on your left- hand side.
10-Turn right at “Kotronas/Skoutari/Kalivia” (???????? ???????? ??????? ) sign, till you find the next sign with direction to “Skoutari/Kalivia/Paganea” (???????? ??????? ???????).
11-Turn left at the sign indicating the direction to “Skoutari/Kalivia/Paganea” (???????? ??????? ???????). Keep driving just following the road, without turning left or right, (be sure that you do not turn right to Skoutari village). This road once followed, will lead you straight to Kalyvia (???????) village. Once you enter the village, keep driving through. You will drive past a small stone built square with three trees, and a phone booth, where the main road is following an 180/o turns to the left, sea view will be in front of you. Please park your car and Call on 0030 6972 090333. Kriviana villa is a 3 minutes by foot from this point.
Mr. Grafakos Tel: 0030 6944534282.
The cleaner will arrive at the house once a week and in case of a stay longer than a week, twice a week.
George cleans the pool. He lives in the basement in an entirely independent flat, he takes care of necessary actions in the early morning, and late evening, 1 or 3 days per week or in case of emergency.
Vassilis is maintaining the garden. He arrives 1-2 days in the morning.
Fresh Fruit and vegetables - a van visits the village three times per week usually around noon. These fruits and vegetables are grown by local farmers. Besides that, fruits and vegetables are offered in an open air shop in “Vathy” village, (????), 7,5 Km 14 min drive, just opposite a mini market.
Drive out the village, turn right, to the road down to the sea, follow the way until you meet on your right-hand side, an old stone built, bridge. Turn right, (do not try to use the bridge). Keep driving to the direction of Ageranos, (do not turn right to Kamares village). Past “Ageranos”, continue on the main road till you reach on your right-hand side a mini market where you can park your car.
Butchers are situated in Gythio (22Km) in “Ermou” (?????) street, and in Areopoli (22Km) which is famous for its excellent - local organic meat, on the main town square, and not far from there, on the national road (highway) ?f Areopoli/Mani to the direction of Mani.
Fishmonger – the local fishmonger visits the village at least twice per week, usually around 10 a.m Fresh fish can be bought in Gythio (22Km) in the main street of Vassileos Georgiou.
Nearest petrol station: 6Km away from the villa, on the way to Gythion town.
Post Office: – at Gythion city just opposite the city school, on “Ermou” street.
All other amenities can be found in Gythio town. (22Km drive).
Drive to the direction of Skoutari (????????) village meet the main road, turn right and continue driving till the end of the road. In front of you is a Greek orthodox church. Turn right with direction to Gythio (??????) Keep driving straight forward till you meet the main national road which connects Gythio town with Sparta city. Turn right to the direction of Gythio.
* National Bank of Greece
* Alpha Bank
* Piraeus Bank
Beaches-Taverns-Bars near and around the village:
The house is located at Mani peninsula, in Kalyvia village, half the way between Gythio (20 km) and Areopolis (20 km)
There is a variety of taverns and fish taverns all around the place, as well as different beaches. A selection of bars cafes shops and restaurants is available in Gythion, as well as in Areopolis. A mini market is located quite near the villa, in Vathy (5 km).
A short description follows.
”Paralia Skoutariou” (??????? ????????),
is the nearest and most lovely sandy beach, just 4 minutes by car. It is there where “Kalamakia” fish tavern is located by the beach.”
Follow the road to Skoutari village out of Kalivia. Turn left at the first road you meet on your left-hand side. Follow the sign to “Kalamakia” parking. Park your car and walk on foot to the direction of the beach.
”Praralia “Kamares”, (??????? ???????) is as
well, close to the house, not more than 5 minutes by car, a sandy beach extended to 1.5Km long. Visiting that beach, it is recommended that you chose its upper end in “Kamares” village. Driving out of Kalivia, turn right, down the road to the sea. Continue driving till you meet on your right-hand side, the old stone Bridge. Turn right to the direction of the bridge. (Do not use the bridge). At the sign to “Kamares”, turn again right and follow this road till its end. Park your car and after swimming, you can choose between two local taverns for lunch.
Paralia “Vathy”, (??????? ????)5 minutes drive,
is a sandy beach nearby hotel “Belle Helene”. Turn right driving out of the village to the direction of “Vathy /Ageranos/Kamares”. Follow the road down to the sea, continue till you meet at your right-hand side the old stone bridge, (do not use the bridge). Turn right and follow the road to “Ageranos” village (without turning right to Kamares village). Once past “Ageranos” village, keep driving down the road. At your right is now “Belle Helene” hotel. Park your car, and pass through the hotel’s entrance to the beach.
”Paganea” (???????) seashore, is 2 to 3 minutes drive from the cottage. This is a small port for fish boats. Leaving the entrance of the villa turn left, following down the road.
At the first turn to the right. Keep driving down till you meet the sea. Beyond “Paganea” seashore, within a distance of 3 minutes drive, there are two more picturesque little gulfs, 5 minutes away from each other, very quiet and calm, out of the crowds, for only few admirers, ideal for those who seek tranquility and isolation.
Leaving the entrance of the villa turn left, following down the road. At the first roads cross keep driving straight ahead. Drive slowly since the
road becomes narrow and difficult. Meeting the first choice to turn right drive till you meet the beach
”Petalea” (???????) beach: is located at “Mavrovouni bay”, is a sandy beach organized with umbrellas, chaise long, coffee and bar service at the beach, and a restaurant for those how want to have lunch after swimming.
Drive straight ahead out of Kalivia village. Follow the road without turning left or right, till you meet with the highway. Turn right with a
direction to Gythion. At the end of this road, just in front of you the Saint Constantine’s Orthodox Church. Turn to the right. Keep driving till this road becomes quite larger, with 2 lanes in each direction. Then drive slowly looking after a sign with direction to Gythio. Gythio is signed with two different directions. The one indicates straight forward drive while the other direction indicates turn to the right. Follow the second choice, by turning right. Keep driving carefully since the road is an old one and has quite often turns right and left. When meeting the beginning of a straight road, turn right at the wooden sign indicating "Petalea”. (Be careful so you will not miss the turn off the road). Keep driving to the sandy beach, where you park your car.
Taverns and bars near and around the village:
Vassili’s (Thalami): Fish tavern At "Ageranos" (????????) village. Mainly open all day. Grilled fresh fish, fried small fishes, squid, octopus e.t.c. Grilled meat, and traditional Greek oven, Italian pasta etc.
George’s tavern: Located at "Drossopigi" (?????????) village, at the upper spot of a small mountain Open mainly at evening, A good inexpensive grilled food, some local dishes, eggs with “syglino” (Smoked pork or pork sausage with aromatic herbs such as thyme, or oregano, mint, e.t.c, stored in lard with orange peel), traditional Greek oven dishes, such as, mousaka, pastitsio stuffed vegetables etc.
Skoutari (????????) fish tavern (Kalamakia/?????????): Located at the sand beach of "Skoutari " village serves inexpensive fish they catch with their own boat, and Greek dishes. It is a nice place for having lunch after a bath in the crystal clear sea waters, of the "Skoutari-Paganea" gulf. It is as well recommended for an evening drink or meal.
"Kotronas" (????????) is a picturesque fishing port and small seaside resort on the edge of a bay. It is a lovely place by the sea, for a coffee or a drink. You even can have your dinner or lunch, at the fish tavern located on the main square of the village.
“Helias” tavern in Karvellas (????????) village. Do not miss it. Every Saturday serves baby spit- roast pork. Try as well “Makarounes” and “Siglino” with eggs, which are both traditional dishes of “Mani”.
Fish Taverna “Takis” in Limeni
Driving down the slope of the mountain, “Limeni” (??????) suddenly appears inside a small cove with old stone houses hung on the Rocky hillside with cypress. The side of the sea with its deep blue color is a unique landscape that you rarely meet elsewhere. The turquoise waters of the seashore are not salty because they are coming through subterranean flows from the rocks. It does worth to watch the sunset from “Takis” tavern. The superb fresh fish at this small restaurant in "Limeni", the port of "Areopoli", draws locals from as far away as “Kalamata”, so be sure to make a reservation if you want a seaside table. This is not the place to eat if you are squeamish about seeing fish prepared a few feet away from where you are eating. On the other hand, the seafood here is so good that you may find yourself coming back for a meal after a meal while you are in Mani.
The lobster “diablo” (lobster with spaghetti in a tangy sauce with green peppers) is among the memorable "fancy" dishes, but a plain grilled fish is equally delicious.
Gythio: (??????) tavern “Potis” (?????): This is a good traditional tavern by the sea in Gythio. There you can find fresh fish, octopus, calamari, (squids), and other fish dishes. In Gythio, you can find a variety of restaurants and taverns along the walk of the coastal road.
“Areopoli” and mainly ¨Gythio” are the nearest towns where you can find a variety of bars and coffee shops.
Southern Mani peninsula
First stop Areopoli / ?????????? (22Km south of Kalyvia
village) has an austere look and plenty of towers and churches. Its name (town of Ares, ancient God of war) was bestowed for its efforts in the war of independence. You can enjoy your coffee at the main square which is the centre of life in the town and a great place to watch people.
The town sights are plenty. Its narrow alleys and cobbled streets are a photographer’s dream and, being a historic town, there are a number of places worth visiting. (Kapetanakis tower, Mavromihalis Tower museum, (four storey tower), Church of Taxiarhon (17th century).
Drive straight ahead out of Kalyvia village. Follow the road without turning left or right, till you meet with the high way. Turn left with a direction to Gythio. At the end of this road, just in front of you the Saint Constantine’s Orthodox Church. Turn to the left to the direction of
Drive straight ahead out of Kalyvia village. Follow the road without turning left or right, till you meet with the high way. Turn right with a direction to Gythio. At the end of this road, just in front of you the Saint Constantine’s Orthodox Church. Turn to the left t o the direction of “Areopoli” (????????) Following the map out of "Areopoli", on the road to Diros caves (??????? ?????) (7Km).
"Vathia" (Greek: ??????, Greek pronunciation: [??????], also
Vathia) is a little town in Laconia, Greece, on the Mani
Peninsula. It is part of the municipal unit Oitylo. Rarely is such
a beauty encountered: a traditional residential district of Man?,
full of towers. “Vathia” is located 65 Km from Kalyvia village and it is one of the most dramatic villages in Mani. It is famous for its grand towers "Pyrgoi". “Vathia” is situated in a hilly setting, and is linked with the road running north to “Areopoli” and "Kalamata" and south to "Cape Tenaro/Matapan". To the north, hills and mountains overlook the town. Farmland and sparse forest cover the valley areas. On the hilltops are abandoned homes, which are colored with earth and topaz along with its rooftops which are like fortresses and were built out of stone south of the place "plateia". Modern buildings exists in the centre. Now "Vathia" is a tourist attraction in spring because of its wild flowers that cover the nearby hills and its breathtaking views. Not far away from "Vathia", the villages "Lagia" (17 Km) and "Alika" (4 Km) are worth a visit.
"Monemvasia" (Greek: ??????????), is a town and a
Municipality in Laconia, Greece. The town is located on a small
peninsula off the east coast of the Peloponnese. The peninsula is linked to the mainland by a short causeway 200m in length.
Its area consists mostly of a large plateau some 100 meters
above sea level, up to 300m wide and 1 km long, the site of a
powerful medieval fortress. The town walls and many Byzantine churches remain from the medieval period. The seat of the municipality is the town Molaoi.
The town's name derives from two Greek words, mone and
emvasia, meaning "single entrance". Its Italian form, Malvasia,
gave its name to Malmsey wine. Monemvasia's nickname is the
Gibraltar of the East or The Rock.
The town is built on the slope to the south-east of the rock,
overlooking Palaia Monemvasia bay. Many of the streets are
narrow and fit only for pedestrians. A small hamlet of about 10
houses lies to the northwest.
The town and fortress were founded in 583 by people seeking
refuge from the Slavic and the Avaric invasion of Greece. A
history of the invasion and occupation of the Peloponnese was
recorded in the medieval Chronicle of «Monemvasia».
From the 10th century AD, the town developed into an
important trade and maritime centre. The fortress withstood
the Arab and Norman invasions in 1147; cornfields that fed up
to 30 men were tilled inside the fortress. William II of
Villehardouin took it in 1248, on honorable terms, after three
years of siege; in 1259 William was captured by the Greeks
after the battle of Pelagonia and in 1262 it was retroceded to
Michael VIII Palaiologos as part of William's ransom.
“Rock of Monemvasia”. Main Square.
It remained part of the Byzantine Empire until 1460, becoming the seat of an imperial governor, a landing place for Byzantine operations against the Franks, the main port of shipment (if not always production) for Malmsey wine, and one of the most dangerous lairs of corsairs in the Levant. The Emperors gave it valuable privileges, attracting Roger de Luria who sacked the lower town in 1292. The town welcomed the Catalan Company
on its way eastward in 1302. In 1397 the Despot of the “Morea”, "Theodore I Palaiologos", deposed the local dynast of "Monemvasia", who appealed to "Sultan Bayezid" I and was
reinstated by Turkish troops. In 1419 the rock appears to have
come into the possession of Venice, though it soon returned to
the Despot. About 1401, the historian George Sphrantzes was
born in the town. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453
Monemvasia held out against the threats of Sultan Mehmed II
in 1458 and 1460, when it became the only remaining domain
of the Despot of the Morea, Thomas Palaiologos, claimant of
the Imperial throne. He had no forces to defend it; he offered
it to the Sultan, and finally sold it to the Pope.
By 1464 the inhabitants found the Pope's representative feeble
and the Pope unable to protect them; they admitted a Venetian garrison. The town was fairly prosperous under Venetian rule until the peace of 1502-3, in which it lost its farm lands, source of its food supply and of Malmsey wine. The food had to come by sea or from Turkish-held lands, and the cultivation of wine languished under Turkish rule. The rock was governed by the Venetians until the treaty of 1540, which cost the Republic Nauplia and Monemvasia, her last two possessions on mainland Greece. Those inhabitants who did not wish to live under Turkish rule were given lands elsewhere. The Ottomans then ruled the town until the brief Venetian recovery in 1690, then again from 1715 to 1821. It was known as "Menek?e" ("Violet" in Turkish) during Ottoman rule and was a sanjak (province) centre in the Morea Eyalet. The commercial importance of the town continued until the Orlov Revolt (1770) in the Russo-Turkish War, which saw its importance decline severely.
The town was liberated from Ottoman rule on July 23, 1821 by
Tzannetakis Grigorakis who entered the town with his private
army during the Greek War of Independence.
In 1971, Monemvasia became linked with the rest of the
outside world through a bridge on the western side that
connects to GR-86.
In more recent history, the town has seen a resurgence in
importance with increasing numbers of tourists visiting the site
and the region. The medieval buildings have been restored,
and many of them converted to hotels.
Mystras and Sparta on Mountain "Taygetos"
(???????) the Byzantine city-state (59Km). Go on to the
national road towards Gythio, then, Sparta and Mystras.
Mystras occupies a steep foothill on the northern slopes of
Mt. Taygetos, 5Km NW of Sparti. The castle on the top of the
hill was founded in 1249 by the Frankish leader Wiliam
Villeharduin. The whole of Mystras is an open-air museum, a
reminder of glorious era of power and culture.
“Taygetos” or “Pentadactylos” is the highest mountain in the
Peloponnese, stretching between the river Evrotas -
Megalopolis and Messinia. The top of a height of 2407 meters and is called “Prophet Helias”. It presents a wide variety of flora and fauna due to the large size with only 25 endemic species, while a passage for migratory birds. On the slopes of Taygetos are numerous small villages with great local colour and operates at an altitude mountain resort 1,600 meters. Close to “Mystras” is “Trypi” (?????) village (4Km). Trypi is a small village of almost 300 inhabitants. Its main attraction is the steep ravine of "Kaiadas", where the Spartans were said to abandon their weak and deformed infants as well as the criminals, traitors and war prisoners. “Kaiadas” is a very scenic gorge and may result a bit frightening for those who are aware of this tradition.
You can find the Byzantine churches of “Agioi Theodoroi” and “Koimisi tis Theotokou” in “Trypi” as well as the abandoned monastery of “Agios “Ioannis Prodromos”. Have also in mind that Saint Nikon lived and taught in the area and visit his cave.
Apart from historical attractions, “Trypi” is surrounded by beautiful scenery. It has many streams, among which we find the springs of “Karvasaras” and “Vasiloneri”. If you love nature, there are many hiking trails and a climbing park in the “Laggada gorge”.
”Trypi” also has some useful facilities. There are good restaurants with delicious local appetizers and traditional meals in moderate prices. It is recommended to experience Greek coffee prepared on
“ELAFONISSOS” is a very small island, just 19 square km on the
southern eastern Tip of Peloponnese.
The distance from the mainland is a mere 570 meters of crystal clear water on top of thin white sand. (22 nautical miles, form (GYTHIO”).
There is a boat sailing to the island three times a week from the port of Gythio to “KITHIRA” island in a distance of 35 k m from “GYTHIO”.
The same boat sailing from Gythio to Elafonissos reach the port of Kythira three times a week from the port of “Gythio”.
Cythera (Greek: ??????), also transliterated Kythera, Kythira,
Kithira. The Italian Cerigo can be used in speaking of late medieval and early modern Cythera.) is an island in Greece, once part of the Ionian Islands. It lies opposite the South-eastern tip of the Peloponnese peninsula. In Ancient Greek mythology, Kythira was considered to be the island of celestial Aphrodite, the Goddess of love, (cf. Cyprus, the island of Astarte, the Goddess of Love).
Since the late 20th century, the Kythirean economy has largely focused on tourism, and in the process, has become dependent this provides the majority of the island’s income, despite the fact that Kythira is not one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece. The popular season
usually begins with the Greek holiday of Pentecost at the end of May, and lasts until the middle of September. During this time, primarily during August, the island's population will often triple due to the tourists and natives returning for vacation. The largest villages are Potamos, Agia Pelagia, Chora (The capital of the island), Ano livadi, Kalamos, and Livadi
Epidaurus (?????????) Stadion
Coordinates 37°38?N 23°8?E Coordinates: 37°38?N 23°8?E
Epidaurus (Greek ?????????, Epidavros) was a small city (polis) in ancient Greece, at the Saronic Gulf. Two modern towns bear the name Epidavros (?????????):
Palaia Epidavros and Nea Epidavros. Since 2010 they belong to the new municipality of Epidavros, part of the regional unit of Argolis. The seat of the municipality is the town Asklipieio.
Epidaurus was not independent of Argos and not included in Argolis until the time of the Romans. With its supporting territory, it formed the small territory called Epidauria. Reputed to be the birthplace of Apollo's son Asclepius, the healer, Epidaurus was known for its sanctuary situated about five miles (8 km) from the town, as well as its theater, which is once again in use today. The cult of Asclepius at Epidaurus is attested in the 6th century BC, when the older hill-top sanctuary of Apollo Maleatas was no longer spacious enough.
The asclepieion at Epidaurus was the most celebrated healing center of the Classical world, the place where ill people went in the hope of being cured. To find out the right cure for their ailments, they spent a night in the enkoimeteria, a big sleeping hall. In their dreams, the god himself would advise them what they had to do to regain their health. Found in the sanctuary, there was a guest house for 160 guestrooms. There are also mineral springs in the vicinity which may have been used in healing.
Asclepius, the most important healer god of antiquity, brought
prosperity to the sanctuary, which in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC embarked on an ambitious building program for enlarging and reconstruction of monumental buildings. Fame and prosperity continued throughout the Hellenistic period. In 87 BC the sanctuary was looted by the Roman general Sulla, and in 67 BC, it was plundered by pirates.
In the 2nd century AD, the sanctuary enjoyed a new upsurge under the Romans, but in AD 395 the Goths raided the sanctuary.
Even after the introduction of Christianity and the silencing of the oracles, the sanctuary at Epidauros was still known as late as the mid 5th century, although as a Christian healing center.
The prosperity brought by the Asklepieion enabled Epidaurus to construct civic monuments too: the huge theatre that delighted Pausanias for its symmetry and beauty, which is used once again for dramatic performances, the ceremonial Hestiatoreion (banqueting hall), baths and a palaestra. The theater was designed by Polykleitos the Younger in the 4th century BC. The original 34 rows were extended in Roman times by another 21 rows. As is usual for Greek theatres (and as opposed to Roman ones), the view on a lush landscape behind the sk?n? is an integral part of the theatre itself and is not to be obscured. It seats up to 15,000 people.
The theatre is marveled for its exceptional acoustics, which permit almost perfect intelligibility of unamplified spoken word from the proscenium or sk?n? to all 15,000 spectators, regardless of their seating (see Ref., in Greek). Famously, tour guides have their groups scattered in the stands and show them how they can easily hear the sound of a match struck at center-stage. A 2007 study by Nico F. Declercq and Cindy Dekeyser of the Georgia Institute of Technology indicates that the astonishing acoustic properties are the result of the advanced design:
The rows of limestone seats filter out low-frequency sounds, such as the murmur of the crowd, and amplify high-frequency sounds from the stage.
Coordinates: 37°38?17?N 21°37?50?E
Olympia (Greek: ??????? Olympia), a sanctuary of ancient Greece in Elis, is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times, the most famous games in history.
The Olympic Games were held every four years throughout Classical Antiquity, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. The first Olympic Games were in honor of Zeus.
Olympia among the main Greek sanctuaries
The sanctuary, known as the Altis, consists of an unordered arrangement of various buildings. Enclosed within the temenos (sacred enclosure) are the Temple of Hera (or Heraion / Heraeum) and Temple of Zeus, the Pelopion and the area of the altar, where the sacrifices were made.
The hippodrome and later stadium were also to the east.
To the north of the sanctuary can be found the Prytaneion and the Philippeion, as well as the array of treasuries representing the various city states. The Metroon lies to the south of these treasuries, with the Echo Stoa to the East. To the south of the sanctuary is the South Stoa and the Bouleuterion, whereas the West side houses the Palaestra, the workshop of Pheidias, the Gymnasion and the Leonidaion.
Olympia is also known for the gigantic ivory and gold statue of Zeus that used to stand there, sculpted by Pheidias, which was named one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World by Antipater of Sidon.
Very close to the Temple of Zeus which housed this statue, the studio of Pheidias was excavated in the 1950s. Evidence found there, such as sculptor's tools, corroborates this opinion. The ancient ruins sit north of the Alfeios River and Mount Kronos (named after the Greek deity Kronos). The Kladeos, a tributary of the Alfeios, flows around the area. It’s located in the part of Greece which is called Peloponesse. In Ancient Greece, Olympia was sacred ground to the Greeks.
For a history of the Olympic Games, see Olympic Games or Ancient
Remains of food and burnt offerings dating back to the 10th century BC give evidence of a long history of religious activity at the site. No buildings have survived from this earliest period of use. Also, the charred remains of a Homo Heidelbergensis body were found at Olympia.
Geometric and Archaic periods
Ruins of the Temple of Hera
The first Olympic festival was organized on the site by the authorities of Elis in the 8th century BC – with tradition dating the first games at 776 BC. Major changes were made to the site around 700 BC, including levelling land and digging new wells. Elis' power diminished and at the beginning of the 7th century BC the sanctuary fell into the hands of the Pisatans in 676 BC. The Pisatans organized the games until the late 7th
The earliest evidence of building activity on the site dates from around 600 BC. At this time the Skiloudians, allies of the Pistans, built the Temple of Hera. The Treasuries and the Pelopion were built during the course of the 6th century BC. The secular structures and athletic arenas were also under construction during this period including the
Bouleuterion. The first stadium was constructed around 560 BC, it consisted of just a simple track. The stadium was remodelled around 500 BC with sloping sides for spectators and shifted slightly to the east.
Over the course of the 6th century BC a range of sports were added to the Olympic festival. In 580 BC, Elis, in alliance with Sparta, occupied Pisa and regained the control over the sanctuary.
The classical period, between the 5th and 4th centuries BC, was the golden age of the site at Olympia. A wide range of new religious and secular buildings and structures were constructed.
The Temple of Zeus was built in the middle of the 5th century BC. Its size, scale and ornamentation was beyond anything previously constructed on the site. Further sporting facilities, including the final iteration of the stadium, and the hippodrome (for chariot-racing) were constructed. The Prytaneion was built at the north west side of the site in
In the late classical period, further structures were added to the site. The Metroon was constructed near the Treasuries c.400 BC. The erection of the Echo Stoa, around 350, eparated off the sanctuary from the area of the games and stadium. The South Stoa was built BC at the southern edge of the sanctuary at approximately the same time.
Ruins of the Philippeion
The late 4th century BC saw the erection of the Philippeion. Around 300 BC the largest building on the site, the Leonidaion, was constructed to house important visitors. Due to the increasing importance of the games, further athletic buildings were constructed including the Palaestra (3rd century BC), Gymnasion (2nd century BC) and bath houses (c.300 BC).
Finally, in 200 BC, a vaulted archway was erected linking the entrance of the stadium to the sanctuary.
During the Roman period, the games were opened up to all citizens of the Roman Empire. A programme of extensive repairs, including to the Temple of Zeus, and new building, took place. In 150 AD, the
Nympheum (or Exedra) was built. New baths replaced the older Greek examples in 100 AD and an aqueduct constructed in 160 AD.
The 3rd century saw the site suffer heavy damage from a series of earthquakes. Invading tribes in 267 AD led to the centre of the site being fortified with robbed material from its monuments. Despite the destruction the Olympic festival continued to be held at the site until the last Olympiad in 393 AD, after which a decree from the Christian emperor, Theodosius I implemented a ban. Apparently, the Temple of
Zeus was destroyed around 426 AD following an edict by Theodosius II enforcing the ban on pagan festivals. The workshop of Pheidias was turned into a Basilica and the site was inhabited by a Christian community. Olympia seems to have prospered during the 5th century AD until Justinian's plague and two Earthquakes devastated it by the mid-6th century. Repeated floods ensured that the settlement was finally abandoned altogether in the early 7th Century. Archaeological evidence suggests that small scale Olympic events (possibly in Christian guise) were still being secretly held until an earthquake in AD 551 finally
destroyed the place of worship, burying it under mud and debris.
Discovery and early excavations
Over time the site was buried under alluvial deposits, up to 8 meters deep, long thought to be the result of river flooding. Modern research hypothesizes instead—based on the presence of mollusc and gastropod shells and foraminifera— that the site was buried by ocean waters resulting from repeated tsunamis.
The exact site was re-discovered in 1766 by the English antiquarian Richard Chandler. The first excavation of the sanctuary at Olympia was not carried out until 1829, by the French "Expedition Scientifique
de Moree". Since the 1870s, the excavation and preservation of Ancient Olympia has been the responsibility of the German Archaeological Institute at 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 responsible for the dig were Gustav Hirschfeld, George Treu, Adolf Furtwangler (who worked alongside architects), A. Boetticher, Wilhelm Dorpfeld, and Richard Borrmann.
They excavated the central part of the sanctuary including the Temple of Zeus, Temple of Hera, Metroon, Bouleuterion, Philipeion, Echo Stoa, Treasuries and Palaestra. Important finds included sculptures from the Temple of Zeus, the Nike of Paeonius, the Hermes of Praxiteles and
many bronzes. In total 14,000 objects were recorded. The finds were displayed in a museum on the site.
Excavation was continued in a more limited way by Dorpfeld between 1908 and 1929 but a new systematic excavation was begun 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, bath complex and 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 1996, Helmut Kyrieleis took over the site and the focus shifted to the earlier history of the sanctuary
with excavation of the Prytaneion and Pelopion.
The Olympia stadium Olympia's train station
The Olympic flame of the modern-day Olympic Games is lit by
reflection of sunlight in a parabolic mirror in front of the Temple of Hera and then transported by a torch to the place where the games are held. When the modern Olympics came to Athens in 2004, the men's and women's shot put competition was held at the restored Olympia stadium.
The town has a train station and is the easternmost terminus of the line of Olympia-Pyrgos (Ilia). The train station with the freight yard to its west is located about 300 m east of the town centre. It is linked by GR-74, and the new road was opened in the 1980s; the next stretch N and NE of
Olympia opened in 2005. The distance from Pyrgos is 20 km (12 mi), about 50 km (31 mi) SW of Lampeia, W of Tripoli and Arcadia and 4 km (2 mi) north of Krestena and N of Kyparissia and Messenia. The highway passes north of the ancient ruins. A reservoir is located 2 km (1 mi) southwest, damming up the Alfeios River. The area is hilly and mountainous; most of the area within Olympia is forested.
Panagiotis Kondylis, one of the most prominent modern Greek thinkers and philosophers, was born and raised in Olympia. When Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the International Olympic Committee, died in 1937, a monument to him was erected at ancient Olympia. Emulating Evangelis Zappas, whose head is buried under a statue in front of the
Zappeion, his heart was buried at the monument.