We cross the big bridge onto the Peloponnese peninsula...
...and were introduced to a new style of lane management. We witnessed many a driver riding the line, and allowing overtaking cars to share the lane with them. Hmmmm, when all cooperate, this seems more efficient and alleviates the possibility of head-on tangles. Just need to keep an eye out for shoulder obstacles, especially bicycles.
Now in Olympia - adjacent to the site of the ancient Olympic Games
The ancient Olympic site was rediscovered in 1766, with early excavations starting in 1829, and extensive digging in 1876-1881. The site had been buried in what was thought river flood sediment to over 26 feet in places, but recent studies suggest large tsunamis inundating the area. Digging is ongoing to today, as we witnessed at the beginning of the tour (and the end).
We walk along the remains of the gymnasium, following along with our tour book. I did Grecco-Roman wrestling in high school, and now here we are, where the early (first?) organized competitions were held.
In a workshop, where the sculptor created sub-parts of the colossal statue of Zeus, before he was assembled inside his temple. Tools and molds were found here during the excavation.
Fragments of written tablets, just lying around, dating from somewhere in the Olympic history, 700 B.C. - 300 A.D.
Lodging remains, where judges and notable athletes resided during the games.
Indigenous fauna - Mr. Lizard.
Rubble-ized parts from the destroyed Temple of Zeus.
What Zeus' temple once was....
The area below and what it likely looked like in the photo above (lower right area). This spot is where champions were crowned, while they stood on the podium. A winged female statue stood atop the column, and the remains we would see later in the museum.
And now we enter the stadium, where the competitions took place - this is the formal entrance where all competitors entered.
Next to the Olympic complex, and especially prominent as seen from the stadium is Kronos Hill, where the ancient Greeks thought Zeus to have been born and where he escaped his father Kronos who tried to eat him.
Gerri preps for her sprint, at one of the 20 starting gates...then runs towards the West...and is crowned the victor in a race of 1 against 1 (I couldn't run it, I'm the photographer). These are the actual original starting/finishing lines - it was surprising they let you make contact with them - about 600 feet apart.
Here's the layout of the complex - stadium at upper right, gymnasium at upper left, the workshop at mid-left, the "hotel" at lower left, the Temple of Zeus in center, and the Temple of Athena at top-middle.
Here's a structure, excavated more recently than the rest of the complex, dating to 3,000 years ago, predating some of the Olympic structures by 1,000 years.
For the modern Olympics, the preliminary event, the running of the torch to the chosen site every four years, starts here, near the Temple of Athena. See demo by Gerri.
Temple of Athena - now with a few more columns than what Zeus is left with.
Mrs. Lizard, hanging out in the Temple of Athena, "ha ha Zeus".
The Philippeon, after 340 B.C., built by Philip of Macedon, who conquered ancient Greece at this time. The Games would continue for another 600 years after that, and while part of the Roman empire. The transition of the Roman religion to Christianity doomed the games, as the powers that be deemed them associated with the non-Christian pagan gods.
The skinnier columns on the Philippeon marked a change in architecture to a more graceful look.
And now exiting the complex, seeing some current excavations ongoing, as we walk a distance to the museum.
Offerings found on the grounds, and now displayed in the museum.
Various bronze ornaments...
Bronze warrior's helmet.
Nike of Paeonius (statue of victory, 421 B.C.), originally stood atop the Pedestal of Nike, next to the Temple of Zeus, at the location where victors where crowned.
An artist's rendition of the colossal statue of Zeus, sitting on this throne, within his Temple. Below it is a model of the workshop where archeologists think he was created.
A model of the Olympic complex.
Statues from the Temple of Zeus, previously adorning the lintel, the triangular roof ends.
Our feast of victory over having completed the great tour of the Olympics. The mushrooms, at middle-left, were especially good.
At the center of Olympia, the small-modern town where we stayed the night.
A parting photo of an amazing mosaic depicting athletes doing their thing - "it was an honor just being selected for the competition", the athlete in the center appears that he can say more. And this illustrates why there was no need for contracting Gucci sports clothing with Nike logos, or what not, this was strictly a clothing-is-not-an-option event.