Athens Panathenean Stadium
Athens Panathenean Stadium
 
Athens Panathenean Stadium
Athens Panathenean Stadium
 


The stadium was built by the rethor Lycurgos, the governor of the city, in the 330 B.C., for the greatest festivities of Athens,
the Panathenaea. The location was chosen in a valley, at the foot of Ardhitos Hill, and next to the river Ilissos, which is now covered. The land belonged to Deinias, who donated it to the city of Athens.
The competition area was fenced by a low stone wall and the stadium had wooden seats, reserved to the politicians, priests and guests of honour.
Later, in 140-144 A.D., Herodes Atticus undertook the restoration of the stadium and installed the pentelic marble seats. Having a capacity of 50 000 spectators., it was a constuction of rare beauty, and ancient traveller Pausanias described it as "unique in the entire world". To improve acces to the stadium, Herodes built a three-arched bridge over the river Ilissos, which was demolished in 1774.

During the Turkish occupation, the stadium was abandoned, the marbles were used for building construction or were turned into mortar. Some marbles were saved and were discovered later, by architect Ernst Ziller, during the excavations that took place betwwen 1869-1870.
The Inernational Sports Convention decided, in 1894, to revive the ancient Olympic Games and symbolically selected the city of Athens to host the first modern Olympiad. The plans for the construction of a suitable stadium were assigned to the architect Anastassios Metaxas and the project was financed by Georgios Averoff, a Greek who lived in Alexandria, Egypt. The reconstructed stadium, also called "Kalimarmaro", meaning "of fine marble", became one of the jewels of Athens.
In 1896, the Panathenean Stadium, or "Panathinaiko Stadium", meaning in Greek "the stadium of all Athenians", was used for the first edition of Olympic Games of modern times.
 
 

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