The Panathenaic Stadium is also known as the Kallimarmaro Stadium and hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. It’s also an ancient Greek stadium which hosted Gladiator fights. Reasons to take a Panathenaic Stadium tour in Athens include;
- See the 1896 Olympic Stadium
- Tour an Ancient Greek Stadium
- Stand on the Olympic Podium
- Walk through the Underground Tunnel
- Only Marble Stadium in the World
- One of the Oldest Stadiums in the World
- Visit the Underground Museum
- Alternative Acropolis Sunset Location
The stadium is a short walk east of the Acropolis therefore you can walk here from wherever you choose to stay in Athens. What’s more, it only costs a few euros to enter this ancient Greek stadium.
Panathenaic Stadium Location
It’s easy to get to the Panathenaic Stadium. As a matter of fact, you can probably walk there. If you wish to take the Metro, Syntagma Square station on both the red and blue lines is the closest. Alternatively, why not take the tram to Zappio tram stop? Once you arrive at the stadium, you can view the whole of the interior before entering.
Ancient Greek Stadium with a View
You can see the whole stadium interior from the street so why go inside? One of several reasons to enter are the excellent views of the Acropolis from the top of the stands. This is why the Panathenaic Stadium is a top Athens sunset spot.
Panathenaic Stadium Facts
Firstly, let’s mention the historical facts; the stadium was built in 330 BC with limestone. It wasn’t until 140 AD that it was renovated to become the marble stadium you see today. As you could imagine, during this period it would host gladiator and animal fights. However, this marble was looted during the collapse of the Roman Empire. In 1896 the first modern Olympic Games were held here which is when the stolen marble was finally replaced. Stadium designer, Herodes Atticus is buried adjacent to the stadium.
Now, let’s mention some stadium records; it’s one of the oldest stadiums in the world. To put that into perspective, it’s over 2000 years older than the oldest football stadium in the world. It’s the only stadium completely built with marble in the world. It holds the highest ever attendance for a basketball match with 80,000 spectators. Today however, the capacity is 45,000.
You must take a souvenir photo posing on the historic Olympic podium. Actually, I recommend you take it with the ancient Greek marble stadium as a backdrop. Definitely a top Instagram spot in Athens!
Marble Seats and VIP Seats
I mentioned this is the only marble stadium in the world. In fact, you’re free to roam around the 45,000 marble seats as you wish. There are a few VIP seating areas which are worth a mention. Make sure you take a map at the entrance which will show you where the royal boxes are, as well as the Coubertin and Brundage inscribed seats.
Let’s end with this question; have you ever been to a stadium which a Roman Emperor has visited before? Maybe the Colosseum in Rome?
The stadium features two huge herma statues. These feature heads and torso on a squared lower section.
Panathenaic Stadium Underground
Not many people know you can visit the stadium underground. This is actually where the athletes would enter the stadium for the Olympics. Can you imagine the Usain Bolt of 1896 walking through here as he was warming up? What’s more, this is definitely another top photo spot for your social media feeds and another good reason to visit the stadium interior.
Ancient Greek Stadium Museum and History
The Panathenaic Stadium museum is at the end of the underground tunnel. Here you can read about the in depth history as well as lots of facts about the place. In addition, you can watch important events which happened at the stadium on the TV.
Also located in the stadium underground is the Olympic legacy room. Here you can view not only official posters from each Olympic games but also the official Olympic torches from around the world. As a result, those who have a keen interest in the history of the Olympics will be in their element here. That’s not to mention any former Olympians who take the tour.
The Ancient Greek Stadium Exit
It’s amazing how an ancient Greek stadium has better access than some modern day stadiums. Not to mention the infamous Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield.
Panathenaic Stadium at Night
I highly recommend you visit Panathenaic stadium for sunset. Not only is it very peaceful but it’s also lit up beautifully. I shouldn’t really mention this but if it’s closed you can simply climb in from the adjacent park. The only down side to this is that you have to walk around the back of the stadium to the park entrance. Furthermore, there are also wonderful sunset views over the Acropolis nearby the tomb of Herodes Atticus within the park. How about a photo with the whole stadium to yourself with the orange lights illuminated as a reminder of your visit?
Enjoy Visit to the Panathenaic Stadium
Where else in the world can you visit a huge marble stadium? A stadium which hosted the first modern Olympic Games? A stadium where Roman Emperors have visited? In my opinion, Acropolis is both severely overcrowded as well as over rated. For this reason, the Panathenaic stadium is a both peaceful and interesting alternative.
Interested in ancient stadiums? Visit Ephesus. Alternatively, visit an ancient amphitheater in Pula, Croatia.
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