Today on our marvelous tour in Greece, we visited the Ancient site of Olympia, birthplace of the first Olympic games, which commenced over 1200 years ago. The games were held to celebrate the achievements of the human body and to honor of the Greek God Zeus. With our tour guide Mario, we discovered some of the unique secrets hidden inside this fabulous and history rich ancient city, which was submerged in water for more than 600 years. The site contained one of the Seven Ancient Wonders, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, which stood inside the temple of Zeus at more than 60 feet tall. As stated before the Olympic games were held here with fewer events compared to the modern Olympic games.
The games at Olympia are the most prestigious games in history and are still popular in today’s society, having a significant impact on the population when held every four years. Although there were fewer events in Ancient times it was still equally popular and entertaining. Unlike other games of the time, any Greek Poleis even some Roman settlements could participate. Mario, an experienced archaeologist and tour guide (almost 50 years) provided us with insightful detail into this Ancient site, helping us to understand broaden our understanding of the Ancient site of Olympia. The site also contained many other former grand and extravagant buildings such as the Temple of Zeus, Temple of Mother Gaia and the Temple of Hera. Mario explained the concepts of architecture used by the ancient Greeks to provide structural balance and the appearance of perfection of the temples. The temples were all built to different sizes but used the same formula; the side face equals the front face, times two, plus one. The sizes of the temple were determined by the importance of the deities.
After a few hours in ferocious heat, exhausted we were. Mario led us into an air-conditioned museum, a great relief for everyone. This museum contained many artifacts and pieces of archaeological evidence found from the site to be studied. Significant artifacts included casts of the Statue of Zeus, Hermes as well as warfare artifacts such as the Miltiades helmet and many others. We concluded our tour with Mario and embarked on a new journey, the bus ride to Tolon.
The journey lasted around three hours, and when we arrived in Tolon, everyone awoke to the sound of waves on the sea–shore, stunning views of the bay and the smell of sea salt. Within minutes of our arrival everyone jumped into their boardies and raided the sea–volleyball court after being inspired by the spirit and athleticism of the Ancient Olympics. We competed in a ferocious volleyball match and even Mr. Pyne participated.
After our swim, we raced to our rooms and quickly showered, and got changed for dinner. We scoffed our food in time to watch the France vs Germany match we were all excited about.
William Cassimatis and Jacob Nastasi