At the foot of which lies the sacred Altis, which encompasses the most eminent and significant buildings and monuments as well as the ancient stadium of Olympia, where the Olympic Games were held. Visitors can admire a valley of outstanding beauty spreading between two rivers, the Alpheus and the Cladeus.
The site was considered to be the most prominent and praised sanctuary in ancient Greece, dedicated to Zeus, the father of the Olympian gods and Olympia became the most important religious centre in Greece. The area became the most significant athletic centre, as well, since it is the birthplace of the Olympic Games, the most prestigious athletic event in the world. The ancient Olympics were held every four years in honor of Zeus and in a spirit of noble emulation.
Historical records indicate that the first Olympic Games took place in this ground in 776 BC. During the Games an Olympic truce was enacted so that athletes could travel in safety in order to attend the Olympics or participate in this glorious event. The winners received an olive wreath also known as “kotinos” as their reward.
Since their revival in 1896, the modern Olympic Games are the leading international athletic event and every four years the Olympic flame is lit here, in ancient Olympia before beginning its journey to the city that will host the next Olympic Games.