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Panathenaic Stadium
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Full-Day Tour of Athens, Acropolis and Cape Sounion with Lunch
Ranked #17 of 321 things to do in Athens
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Owner description: The Old Olympic Stadium in Athens Greece, built of granite in late 19th century on the site of ancient Athens from the 4th Century; hosted the first modern games in1896.
Reviewed 9 November 2013

we had some time to kill and thoroughly enjoyed it. there is an audio tour which was very informative. We can climb up the tunnel to the dressing room where flames and posters from all the years of modern olympics was displayed. Very touching descriptions.
the guy at the ticket counter offered us discounted tickets - child rates without asking as the stadium was pretty much empty when we visited
chance to run on the Olympics running track !!

Thank GZach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,100 - 2,104 of 4,623 reviews

Reviewed 5 November 2013

The idea of reviving the ancient panhellenic games was presented by Pierre de Coubertin in 1894. The first games were held in 1896 and the Panathenaicwas the host of the first olympics of the modern era. Visiting the stadium you can feel the connection with the Pan-Hellenic games that lasted more than 1000 years. With the 3 euro entrance you receive an audio guide and can have a great understanding of its history and meaning. If you want to touch its soil like ancient and modern athletes, go there between 7:30 and 9:00 am and you will experience it. This period is allowed for free jogging at the stadium.

But that is not all. The Stadium is the end of the Athens Classic Marathon . Every year in November you can choose to run 5, 10, or 42 km and end at the stadium. Needless to say that the best option is to choose 42km, start in Marathon, the place of the first greek-persian battle, and follow the steps of the soldier who announced the victory to the athenians before falling dead. But please, to accomplish this get prepared, finish at the stadium and do not fall dead. It is an unique experience. ( www.athensclassicmarathon.org/index.php?lang=en )

There is more ! The Olympic flame, a symbol of the modern Olympic Games, symbolizes the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus in his quest to make mankind superior to animals. First, Prometheus gave mankind an upright shape like that of the gods. Then, he traveld to the sun, where he lighted a torch and brought fire down to the earth. In honor to the myth a fire was kept burning throughout the celebration of the ancient olympics. The fire was reintroduced at the 1928 Summer Olympics and the torch relay, with no ancient precedent, was introduced by Carl Diem at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Presently the olympic torch is ignited in Olympia several months before the opening ceremony. The torch briefly travels around Greece and then starts its transfer to the host city after a ceremony in the Panathinaiko Stadium. During the visit to the stadium it is possible to see many of the torches used during the olympic games of the modern era.

However, the most important of all are the ideals behind sports and olympics in ancient Greece. They were means of fortesting and evaluating human excellence. The modern Olympics must actively understand and incentivate this precious heritage.

First of all we must understand the meaning of agōn (contest or struggle). To achieve performance in life or in sports requires constant struggle and striving. As human beings we rarely achieve divine perfection although we must strive towards excellence. Agōn characterizes the basic human condition of striving for excellence. If we were gods, we would already have perfect understanding and strength and no need for struggle. Indeed the word olympic games are called in greek Olympiakoi Agōnes still bringing the ancient meaning to the modern world.

Although human beings rarely achieve divine perfection, we must be encouraged to strive towards an ideal of excellence, whatever the particular endeavor may be. Although agōn is often individual, true idealists strive not only for personal perfection, but also for the common good of the community. Hellenic heroes were lauded ultimately for their social service. This must be part of the modern olympic ideals.

Secondly, the Olympic Games bridged political and cultural diferences and valued diversity through the common practice of athletics. Every four years, during the games, Olympia was packed with a huge variety of strange visitors. In the 8th century BC was established the Olympic Truce (ékécheiria, meaning "laying down of arms"). During the truce period wars were suspended and armies were prohibited from threatening the games so that the athletes, could travel and return to their countries in total safety. For this reason the International Olympic Committee decided to revive the ancient concept of the Olympic Truce with the view to protecting the interests of the athletes and sport in general, and to encourage searching for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the conflicts around the world. (www.olympictruce.org/Pages/History.aspx )

Most symbolic of all was the fact that ancient athletes were literally stripped of their worldly diferences by competing nude. Indeed, entering an athletic contest meant relinquishing any social privileges. Greek athletics actually created the concept of isonomia or equality before the law—the foundational principle of democracy. As mentioned in Ancient Hellenic Ideals and the Modern Olympic Games, we must “make sure that the Olympic Movement does its best to understand and promote the ancient Hellenic ideals that fuel its name in the first place. The Hellenic heritage of agonism and idealism, as well as the ancient Olympic ideals of humanism, justice, and peace are particularly relevant now as the movement cultivates a multicultural identity consonant with the spirit of our time.....As long as the Olympic Games keep striving to achieve their own ancient and Hellenic ideals, the Olympic game can unite the world and live up to its promise to celebrate humanity.” www.academia.edu/1166937/Ancient_Hellenic_Ideals_and_The_Modern_Olympic_Games

With all this in mind when in Athens schedule a visit to the Panathenaic Stadium. Do not stay outside just to take some pictures. Get inside and experience in full a magnificent intersection of human ideals.

1  Thank Luiz R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 November 2013

You don't really appreciate the scale of the thing until you climb the steps to the top. You get great views of the city and a feel for slightly more modern history - there's a list of the places where the modern Olympic Games have been held since its start date in Athens, including the two that were cancelled due to the second world war.

Did you know . . . at the 1948 Olympics athletes were asked to bring their own food because there was still rationing in the UK. (sorry, I couldn't help myself)

Thank Emma D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 November 2013

The visit can be as low key as you want it to be. Just climbing those stairs, sitting in the king's and queen's seats and running a lap can be enough. The audio guide is great, not overwhelming, easy to follow and with the interesting details. The best part? Experiencing the tunnel before coming out in front of the crowd.

Thank KablanB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 October 2013

Brilliant, really enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere of this place. It has been well preserved and I would really recommend using the audio guide because it puts the place into context. Also worth a visit, is the press room upstairs where there are posters to see from all the modern Olympic Games as well as all the torches that have been used. It was great to be able to walk all around it and my husband was particularly chuffed to run on the track. Excellent toilets for 50cents

1  Thank carpip186346
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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