Olympia is the mother of the Olympic Games. The ancient Greeks had chosen the most peaceful and picturesque landscape, 2 hours away from the present town of Pyrgos. The Olympic Games and The Amfiktionies were the most  important celebrations of all the Greeks. In the plain of Olympia there is one of the most sacred places in the ancient times, the grove of Olympia, that was called Altis. In the enclosure of Altis were built temples and other majestic buildings.

The most important of all, a really majestic building of Altis was the temple of  Zeus. Other edifices in Altis was the  sanctuary of Pelops, the temple of Hera (Heraion), the Mitroon (temple of Mother of Gods), the parliament, the altar of Zeus, the twelve Treasures (treasuries of  cities that were built in the foot of the sacred hill, called Kronio).There were much more edifices and a great number of statues that decorated  Olympia, but many times had been pillaged and the temples had been burnt by barbarous nations. Then big and  destructive earthquakes and floods, of the near rivers Alfeios and Kladeos, destroyed everything !!

From the excavations of 1875 were found some  masterpieces that nowadays decorate Greek and many European museums. Olympia was the center of the ancient Greece because of the Olympic Games. The games according to the tradition started when Pelops  won the chariot races  from the king of Pisa, Oinomaus. So, he took  for a prize his kingdom and got married to his daughter Hippodameia. The  history refers that Lycourgus of  Spart started the games and Iftos from Ilida. The games were done every fourth year .The Spondoforoi, that were always from a noble race, were starting with their followings to visit the Greek towns just to proclaim truce, and to invite the spectators, the athletes, and the officials that represented  their  towns to Olympia, for the games.


     When the games were starting, the wars had stopped and the people of all around Greece were gathering to view the spectacle sight. The victory of an athlete was the victory of the town he was from. The right of participation to the games had only the free Greek citizens, so it had been forbidden to the slaves  to participate to the games. In addition it was not allowed to the women to watch the games, it has mentioned that only once, a woman managed to get in to  watch the games, her name was Kalipateira from Rhodes  who her father, her brothers and her sons were Olympic Champions!! He managed to do that because she was  disguised herself into a man.
This event finished in five days. The first day of the games the athletes were taken the oath and they sacrificed animals to Zeus. The fight, the track, and the pancratium were taking place the next three days. The horse races and the chariot races were taking place to the circus, the last day  the winners were being crowned with cotinus and they  gave sacrifices to the gods. Cotinus was a branch of sacred wild oil tree, that had been cut with a gold knife by a boy (that had both of his parents. Every Olympic Champion had the right to put his statue in Altis.
The first Olympic Games took place in 776 B.C. The Games every fourth year were taking place until 383 A.C. Nowadays the Olympic Games have international character and are the revival of the ancient Olympics. The pioneer of this revival was the French baron Pier De Kouberten. The first of the latest Olympics were in 1896 in Athens, from this year and every four years all the countries of the universe are gathering in a town. This town is chosen every time by the  International Olympic Commission . The latest Olympics stopped only the times of the two Universal Wars.

The opening of the Olympics of today  is by the  transportation of the Olympic Flame from Olympia. In the Olympic torch races take part hundreds of athletes, the first time that took place the torch races  were in the Olympics of  1936, in Berlin, and is a great ceremony that  symbolizes the spirit of peace and the unification  of all the nations.

Here in Greece all the Greeks are waiting with impatience the year of 2004 that the spirit of the ancient Olympic Games will revive to his birth place after 108 years. We hope that we will manage to organize the games as our  ancestors used to do.
        We invite all of you to live together that majestic celebration!!!!!!

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After 108 years, the Olympic Torch will return to the city 
where the modern Olympic Games began.
Athens in 2004