The stadium of Olympia, situated east of the sacred Altis enclosure, was where the ancient Olympic Games and the Heraia (the women's games in honor of Hera) were held. The stadium was built in three phases. After the construction of the Echo-hall in the mid-fourth century BCE the stadium was isolated from the Altis, which shows that the Games had lost their purely religious character and had become more of an athletic and social event.
The racetrack is 212.54 meters long and 30-34 meters wide. Two stone markers 192.27 meters apart indicate the starting and finishing lines. On the south bank is a podium for judges, and opposite this, on the north bank, the altar of Demeter Chamyne, whose priestess was the only woman allowed to watch the games. The stadium could accommodate approximately forty-five thousand people, but the banks never had permanent seats. There were a few stone seats for the officials. A stone drain around the track opened at intervals into small basins where rain water collected. A vaulted entrance for the athletes, thirty-two meters long, was built in the late third century BCE.
--Hellenic Ministry of Culture web site: http://odysseus.culture.gr/h/2/eh251.jsp?obj_id=501
The Archivision Collection of Ancient Sites was funded by the Jack Martin Balcer Library Endowment.
Keywords: Greece, Peloponnese, Ilias, Nomos, Olympia, Ancient Greek, Mediterranean. Photographed by Scott Gilchrist, Archivision.