Sanctuary of Olympia. The site and the Archaeological Museum
The sanctuary of Olympia is located at the west of the Peloponnese peninsula. Dedicated to Zeus, is linked not only to the history
of the ancient Greeks but also the sports culture of the modern world, because there is lit every four years the torch that opens
the current version of the Olympics. The sanctuary had two main areas, one for religious and other acts that grouped the buildings
to the sports competition. The sacred precinct was located in the middle of a forest, the Altis.
The Greek hero Heracles stood there the wild olive branches to be taken to make the crowns of the victors. The sacred site was
surrounded by trees. In the center of the sacred grove rose the ash altar of Zeus, which was manifested this god in an
oracle priests interpreted through the fire. The fire lit the winner of the first test pentathlon, which results in
the present ceremony of the Olympic torch. Are the best preserved temples of Hera and the Temple of Zeus.
The sports area was arranged in a U shape around the Altis and contained spaces especially athletes, to enable accommodation, train
or compete. Undoubtedly stressed the arena, stadium and the racecourse. In these pictures we see columns in the Palestra.
Apart from the archaeological site of the sanctuary at Olympia you also have to visit the Archaeological Museum. It contains a collection of
ancient Greek art found in the sanctuary and surrounding areas. Opened in 1885, it moved to a new building in 1982 and then was renovated
in 2003 in occasion of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. The museum displays some of the most important works of Greek art as the Victoria
Peony, the Hermes of Praxiteles and the pediments and metopes of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia.