Panathenaic Stadium, Athens

Panathenaic Stadium, Athens (must see)

The Panathenaic is the world's only major stadium that was built entirely of white marble. It's also one of the oldest in the world. In ancient times, the stadium on this site was used to host the athletic portion of the Panathenaic Games every 4 years in honor of the Goddess Athena. In 329 BC it was rebuilt in marble and in 140 AD was enlarged and renovated, giving a seated capacity of 50,000. After the late 4th century AD, however, the stadium was abandoned and fell into ruin.

The remnants of the ancient structure were excavated and refurbished for the revival of the Olympic Games that were held in the late 19th century. The stadium is much smaller than the Olympic stadiums built today, but one still has to be impressed with its simplicity and, of course, its five Olympic rings. At the entrance, you can see four stones carved with all the interesting history of the Olympics from the late 19th century to present day.

The first international Olympic Games in modern history were held in this stadium in 1896 and King George I of Greece opened the ceremony. Among participants were 241 male athletes from 14 countries, competing in 9 sports and 43 events. The first 9 modern Olympic sports were athletics, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, tennis, shooting, swimming, weightlifting and wrestling. Every four years since then, athletes from all over the world came together to compete against each other. Only the great wars of the 20th century have prevented the normal schedule of the Olympics – but as soon as those wars ended, the tradition went on. The last time Athens hosted the Olympics was, in fact, in 2004. The stadium itself is very nice to visit but note that you'll probably get the best experience with the free audio guide provided.

Why You Should Visit:
It is a beautiful stadium and the place where modern Olympics were born.
The small museum on site offers an exhibition on the history of the Olympics.

Tip:
Make sure you ask for the audio guide (included in the affordable entry ticket) upon entry and then climb to the upper tier for stunning views of the stadium.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Athens. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Panathenaic Stadium on Map

Sight Name: Panathenaic Stadium
Sight Location: Athens, Greece (See walking tours in Athens)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Athens, Greece

Create Your Own Walk in Athens

Create Your Own Walk in Athens

Creating your own self-guided walk in Athens is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Walking Around the National Garden

Walking Around the National Garden

The National Garden is an impressive, historic park in the center of Athens, complete with artificial streams and duck ponds. Formerly known as the Royal Garden, it was commissioned by King Otto’s queen, Amalia, in 1838, reason why it is located directly behind the Old Palace (currently the Greek Parliament building). Not only is it a welcome refuge from the swirl of traffic just outside the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Athens Food Walking Tour

Athens Food Walking Tour

Traditional Greek cuisine is one of the healthiest in the world, and prices in all but the flashiest establishments afford excellent value. The prevalence of vegetable and dairy dishes makes eating out a delight for non-meat eaters. Carefully selected appetizers (tzatzíki, dolmádes, kalamarákia) can constitute a full meal. Greece’s most famous slow-cooked oven dish, however, is probably...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Walking Tour Around the Legendary Acropolis

Walking Tour Around the Legendary Acropolis

Also called "the sacred rock", the Acropolis was home to temples and sanctuaries throughout recorded history, and is a symbol of the city of Athens. Its religious importance was paramount to the ancient Greeks, and the buildings on the summit still capture the essence of their classical architecture. You can see the temples from most parts of the city, which adds to the feeling that this...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Plaka Attractions Walking Tour

Plaka Attractions Walking Tour

In the shadow of the Acropolis stands Plaka, the most picturesque and oldest district of Athens, with continuous habitation from antiquity until today. The “neighborhood of the Gods”, as it is called, is like a romantic, atmospheric trip to old Athens adorned with antiquities, historic 19th-century buildings, museums and Byzantine churches.

From the vibrant Syntagma Square walking down...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Athens Introduction Walking Tour

Athens Introduction Walking Tour

Athens is one of the oldest European cities, widely regarded as the birthplace of Western Civilization. Its history begins in the Neolithic period between 4th and 3rd millennium BC. The first settlement on the site of Athens was situated on the rock of Acropolis which means “high city” in Greek.

According to the Greek mythology, the name “Athens” emerged from a competition between the...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles

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