Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

South East Europe / Western Trans-Balkan Road

Archaeological Site of Olympia

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Archaeological Site of Olympia

About the site

Corridor: Western Trans-Balkan Road
Country: Greece, Ilia
Type: Ancient Site
Epoch: Antiquity
Theme: Antiquity
World Heritage: Cultural Heritage
AntiquityAntiquityAncient SiteCultural Heritage

The site of Olympia, in a valley in the Peloponnesus, has been inhabited since prehistoric times. In the 10th century BC, Olympia became a centre for the worship of Zeus. The Altis – the sanctuary to the gods – has one of the highest concentrations of masterpieces from the ancient Greek world. In addition to temples, there are the remains of all the sports structures erected for the Olympic Games, which were held in Olympia every four years beginning in 776 BC.


One of the most important sanctuaries of antiquity, dedicated to the father of the gods Olympian Zeus. Olympia is the birth-place of the Olympic Games and also where they were held.
The area, of great natural beauty, has been inhabited uninterruptedly since the 3rd millennium BC and in the late Mycenaean period it became a religious centre.
The excavations at Olympia were begun in May 1829, two years after the battle of Navarino, by French archaeologists. The finds (metopes from the opisthodomus and parts of the metopes from the pronaos of the Temple of Zeus) were transferred to the Louvre where they are still being exhibited. When the Greek government was informed of the looting of artifacts, the excavation was stopped.
Some of the most important monuments of the site are: the temple of Zeus, the Temple of Hera (Heraion), the Stadium, the Bouleuterion, the Philippeion, the Leonidaion, the workshop of Pheidias, the Palaestra, the Gymnasium, the Prytaneion etc.

Expert network

Read more about Archaeological Site of Olympia at the Unesco World Heritage List.