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The Story Virtual Tour
Olympia is an ancient settlement in Greece where the Olympic games started. The games were held in honour of Zeus, King of the Gods. The games were part of a great five day festival held every four years at Olympia, a valley near a city called Elis. The first Olympic Games were held in about 776BC. In those days the only event was a short sprint, from one end of the stadium to the other. Slowly over the years more were added until there were four days of many different competitions. The spectators came from all over Greece to watch the events. They had to pitch their tents or sleep outside. Only the men, boys and unmarried girls were allowed to attend the Olympic Games. Women caught sneaking in faced a severe punishment!

Temple of Zeus

One of the contests held of the forth day was called Pankration wrestling. It may seem very violent to us, but it was very popular among the ancient Greeks. It was a kind of wrestling with hardly any rules. The only rules were no biting and eye gouging which were officially banned however some of the contestants did occasionally attempt to get away with it.

The Games were closely connected to the worship of the gods, goddesses and heroes. just like most of the famous national festivals of the ancient Greeks, they were celebrated in the summer every four years.

The Historical Background

The story of Olympia begins in Greece in 776 B.C., the year when history records the first winners of the Olympic Games. Before this, as the story describes, the city-states of Greece had been locked for years in a long and nasty civil war. Each city-state had been fighting for so long that its soldiers had lost sight of what it was that they were fighting for. According to one account, an agreement was reached in the city-state of Ellis in Western Greece to create a truce, and allow athletes, officials and others to travel in safely to take part in the Olympic Games.

The origin of the games is linked with many myths saying that Oxylos was the founder of the original games, which were later revived by his descendant, Lfitos, the king of Ellis. In 776 B.C., Lfitos successfully made a treaty with the king of Sparta, Lycourgos, and the King of Pisa, Cleosthenes.      

The giant golden statue of Zeus which is now one of the Seven Wonders of the World


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The Temple of Zeus

The Olympic Stadium

The Stands

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