Greece Travel Stories

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.
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