The land

of ANCIENT OLYMPIA

OLYMPIA

It’s not fair to say that the region of Ilida has a history; it is history. Located in the western part of the Peloponnese, the area is world-famous for its archaeological significance. Olympia is filled with historical marvels and architectural gems: the site of Ancient Olympia, the Byzantine monastery, the Frankish castle, ancient monuments, temples, etc. Visitors will be dazzled by this backdrop of startling beauty –mountains, beaches, never-ending fields and a spectacular azure coastline.

Skafidia,Ilia,Olympia
Peloponnese,Greece, 27131
Tel: (+30)26210 82 000

History & Myths

A STORY TO TELL

ANCIENT ILIDA

Ancient Ilida was built on the north banks of the Peneus River, between the mountainous part and the coastal lowlands. The city was inhabited almost continuously from the beginning of the Middle Palaeolithic up until the Early Byzantine period. It was considered an important cultural centre of the Peloponnese, and the capital of Ilia prefecture. This well-organised city of the ancient world was also the host city of the Olympic Games for more than a thousand years. Visitors to the archaeological site will be able to see the ancient marketplace (agora), the very well-preserved theatre, the village, the citadel as well as the cemeteries.

THE MYTHICAL "CAVE OF THE LAKES"

At an absolute height of 827m, this cave is a rare creation of nature. Apart from its strange stalactite formations and labyrinth of corridors, this cave has a string of 13 cascading lakes forming three different levels. But it is not only that which makes it unique: human and animal relics dating from the Neolithic era were found there. The cave is, in fact, an old subterranean river with natural waterfalls that partly dries up in the summer months, revealing stone basins and dams of up to 4m. high. The developed part of the cave is currently 500 meters long. Cave of the Lakes is located at a distance of 17 km from Kalavryta and 9 km from Kleitoria.

THE PALACE OF NESTOR

The Palace of Nestor was an important administrative, political and financial centre of Mycenaean Messenia. It was built in the 13th century BC by King Nestor, son of Peleus, who participated in the Trojan War with 90 ships that made Pylos the second largest city in the Mycenaean world after Mycenae itself. The site, which recovered stone walls, frescoes, pottery and 1,000 Linear B tablets during excavations in 1939, is the best preserved Mycenaean Greek palace discovered. The site is situated on a hill, 17km north of Pylos.

A UTOPIAN LAND

Arcadia takes its name from the mythological figure Arcas, son of Zeus and Callisto, who was both the country’s greatest hunter and the region’s king. It was also known as the homeland of god Pan who, according to Greek mythology, was the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, mountain wilds, fields, groves, valleys and rustic music. During ancient times, while the rest of the people of the Peloponnese lived in cities and led an urban life, Arcadians—who lived in the middle of the Peloponnesian peninsula, far from sea—led a simple, shepherd life. That was the reason why Arcadia was considered to be an unspoilt, harmonious wilderness; a land of freedom. This was also supported by the famous painting by Nicolas Poussin, one of the greatest classical artists of French Baroque. In his painting “ “Et in Arcadia ego” (translated into «Even in Arcadia, there am I»), the word Arcadia was connotation for a land of utopia.

КОРИНФСКИЙ КАНАЛ

Коринфия получила свое название от древнего Коринфа, который был полностью разрушен землетрясением в 1858 году. Это привело к созданию Нового Коринфа на побережье Коринфского канала, в 3 км к западу. Новый Коринф был восстановлен после еще одного землетрясения в 1928 году и в 1933 году после большого пожара. Ориентиром Коринфа служит Коринфский канал, который соединяет Пелопоннесский полуостров с греческим материком, и через который пролегает морской транзитный путь из западной части Средиземного моря в Эгейское море. Его строительство началось в 1881 году, но было затруднено из-за узости канала, навигационных проблем и периодических закрытий на ремонт его отвесных стен. Коринфский канал был завершен в 1893 году. Его длина составляет 6,4 км, а ширина всего 21,3 м.

ЛЕГЕНДАРНАЯ АРГОЛИДА

Арголида (древнегреческий Аргос) расположена на Пелопоннесском полуострове, точнее – на его востоке: она является частью округа, который включает в себя Арголиду, Аркадию и Коринфию. Арголида чрезвычайно богата историей и на ее территории расположены интересные археологические памятники древности. Здесь стоит увидеть самую главную достопримечательность Микен — знаменитые Львиные ворота, отправиться на экскурсию по городу Нафплион, первой столицы Греции и подняться 913 извилистых ступенек на вершину крепости или посетить древний театр в Эпидавре, спроектированный в 4-м веке. до н.э. и знаменитый своей исключительной акустикой. Архитектура театра позволяет всем 14 000 зрителям независимо от их места услышать внятно и разборчиво речь, произнесенную со сцены.

ЗЕМЛЯ ЛЕГЕНД

Лакония (также известная как Лакедемония) – один из основных районов Греции, часть Пелопоннесского региона. Она расположена в юго-восточной части Пелопоннесского полуострова. Административным центром нома считается город Спарта. Спарта – родной город Менелая и его жены Елены, красивейшей из женщин, втянувшей обитателей города в войну. В окрестностях этого города можно обнаружить множества культурных сокровищ античных и византийских времен.

Знаете ли вы, что… От названия данного региона происходит слово «лаконичный»: как известно, слово означает «говорить коротко», и подобную манеру речи афиняне как раз таки и отмечали у спартанцев.

Highlights

WORTH SEEING

ANCIENT OLYMPIA

One of the most famous attractions of Greece is Ancient Olympia located in Ilia on the Peloponnesian peninsula. That was a sanctuary of ancient Greeks and the site of the Olympic Games in antiquity. The site enclosed various buildings, i.e. impressive Temples built in honour of the Gods, the altar of sacrifices, the Gymnasium, the Stoa, the Palaestra, the workshop of famous sculptor Pheidias, etc., not to mention the gigantic ivory and gold statue of Zeus–named one of the Seven Wonders of Ancient times. A walk along the ancient Olympic Stadium will mentally transport you to the first Olympic games held in 776 BC.

PELOPONNESIAN CUISINE

The cuisine of Peloponnese is uniquely diverse and exciting, with local flavours being as abundant as its nature. With olive oil as its trademark, local cuisine boasts its rich agricultural production—citrus fruit, eggplants, artichokes, onions, black-eyed peas, tomatoes—and their byproducts—grapes, wines, raisins and vinegar. But the true flavours of delight emerge when local cuisine makes use of its fresh fish, pork, roosters, rabbits, salt cod, quail and cured meat.

WHERE TO SHOP

The capital of Ilia, Pyrgos, has a large shopping market with new and old shops. Some of the oldest ones have been operating for more than a century, like the Distillery Koutifari with its fine ouzo, brandy and liqueurs in every possible flavour. In Pyrgos, apart from your usual clothing and cosmetics shops, you can find antique shops, shops that sell unique spices and herbs, as well as a workshop—the last one of its kind—making horses accessories.

A WALK IN THE HARBOR

Katakolon, a place that combines natural beauty and history, is a coastal town in western Ilia. Every year it attracts hundreds of cruise ships and visitors can enjoy attractions such as: Pontikokastro, the small village of Agios Andreas which in ancient times was the natural harbour for Ancient Olympia, the lighthouse built in 1865 at Cape villages, beautiful mountain trails, the scenic church of St. Nicholas, the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology and Greek musical instruments and games. At the entrance to the harbour, there are old warehouses recently restored and converted into cafes and taverns.

NATURAL BEAUTY

The natural landscape of Peloponnese has it all: a 1,200km coastline, dozens of mountains with an altitude above 1,000m, forests, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, caves, valleys; you name it. There are countless challenges for adventure lovers; from hiking and climbing to diving, and hundreds of excellent beaches for swimming. The peninsula of Peloponnese is packed with beautiful lacy golden shores and beaches of perfect white sand and tranquil emerald waters.