Saturday, November 01, 2008

Vacation Pics

We started our day at the Olympia museum it was impressive, I only took a

few pictures because you are not allowed to use a flash.


On to ancient Olympia where the original Olympics began as a small regional

festival in the 11th century BC dedicated to Zeus.  The festival was open

only to Greek born men but later Romans were allowed to compete most likely

because they were running the Greek work by then.


The events included foot races, wrestling, discuss, javelin, long-jump,

horse and chariot racing.  There were not only athletic events but also

writing, poetry and history reading, plus business transactions and treaties

were made between leaders of city-states.


The games were banned in 426 by the Emperor Theodosius 11 because they were

pagan and the temples were destroyed.  Because of the destruction and

several earthquakes there is not much left in the way of buildings besides

foundations, steps and columns but these are impressive and are in a

beautiful setting near the Kladeos river.  The area is called the Altis

which means the area sacred to Zeus and the reason there is anything left is

because the flooding of the river buried it until 1875 when archeologist

rediscovered it.


The Temple of Hera is where the Olympic flame is lit from the sun and then

taken by runners to light the torch wherever the games are being held, a

tradition which dates back to 1936.


Olympia is shaded by tall trees and walking through the ruins is a peaceful

experience.  The 2007 forest fires in Greece stopped at the stadium gate,

what a blessing!


We drove to Patras, the 3rd largest city in Greece, crossed the new bridge

which plays a significant role linking the western part of Greece to the

rest of the country.  Ferries to Italy also leave from Patras.


Next stop Delphi!




Thank Louise D.

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