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Often overlooked by tourists, the rural village of Marathon is worth a visit. Located 26 miles from Athens, the Plains of Marathon is the site of one of the most important battles of the Classic Age. Here is where the Athenian army beat back an invasion by the Persian army in 490 BC. Following the battle a long Athenian runner named Pheidippides ran the distance to Athens and proclaimed the victory, only to fall dead of exhaustion. Thus the Marathon race is named for this Greek victory, and in 2004 the Olympic Marathon was held on the same route as Pheidippedes, ending in the Panathinaikon Stadium in Athens. It was this stadium that was built for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
Today the field is empty, but it makes for an impressive sight, and it is home to a small, and seldom visited museum, which houses various archaeological relics from the battle.The site is accessible by the National highway on the route to Thessaloniki, and it be reached by daily bus service from Athens. The Museum of Marathon is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8:30am until 3pm. Sundays are free from November through March.