Marathon is a small village close to the sea, about 50km from Athens. The area was the stage of the first encounter on the Greek mainland between the Persians and the Greeks. It was the culmination of the first attempt by Persia to conquer Greece in 490 BC. The greek victory captured the collective imagination of the Greeks.
A ceremonial funeral mound of the legendary 192 Athenian dead and the loyal Plataeans was erected on the battlefield and it is still there for everyone to pay homage to those heroes of a pivotal moment for the history of Europe. There is also a Marathon Museum. One is far from the other and as many museums and archeological sites in Greece they close before 3:00 PM.
Unfortunately the city of Marathon has not realized yet the brand they have in their hand and that people from all over the world are willing to visit the city for historical reasons. So, why not have more flexible schedules ? Also, as usual information is scarce in many Greek historical attractions. If my greek wife and I had difficulty in obtaining information around Marathon I can imagine the effort for tourists without knowledge of the greek language. Probably, if you have interest in visiting the area the best approach is to be with an organized tour.
Perhaps, the battle became more famous as the inspiration for the Marathon race. The legend of a Greek messenger running to Athens with news of the victory became the inspiration for this athletic event, introduced at the 1896 Athens Olympics. Presently, it is possible to participate on the marathon event organized by the Hellenic Athletics Federation, the Athens Classic Marathon, following the original track and ending at the Panathenaic stadium in Athens. It is held every year in November.
The Battle of Marathon was a watershed in the Greco-Persian wars. The following two hundred years saw the rise of the Classical Greek civilization, which has been enduringly influential in western society.
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