Calling all history enthusiasts! Don’t miss the Panathenaic Stadium if you’re eager to dive into Greek culture and explore the ancient games that inspired today’s Olympic Games.
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A Quick History of Athens’ Panathenaic Stadium
The Beginnings of the Panathenaic Stadium
The Panathenaic Stadium, also known as Panathenaic or Kallimarmaro Stadium, is among the most iconic landmarks in Athens, Greece. From its ancient games to the first modern Olympic Games, the stadium’s storied past takes visitors on a captivating trip through time.
Constructed in the 5th century BC, the original Panathenaic Stadium was built of wood and designed to host the Panathenaic Games. These athletic and cultural events were held in honor of Athena, the city’s patron goddess.
In 330-329 BC, architect Lycurgus chose to replace the wooden structure with Pentelic marble, the same material used for the Parthenon. At that time, the stadium could hold an impressive 50,000 spectators. To put that into perspective, the Yankee Stadium has a capacity of “only” 46,537 seats.
Throughout the ages, the Panathenaic Stadium underwent numerous modifications and renovations. In 144 BC, the renowned Athenian orator Herodes Atticus funded a major reconstruction project, which included rebuilding the seating area.
Decline and Revival of the Panathenaic Stadium
As Christianity gained prominence in the 4th century AD, the Panathenaic Games fell out of favor and the stadium gradually descended into neglect.
However, the Panathenaic Stadium’s story took a major turn in the late 19th century with the advent of the modern Olympic Games. In 1896, thanks to the generous support of affluent Greek philanthropist George Averoff, the stadium was fully restored, recapturing its former splendor!
Now, the Panathenaic Stadium serves as a proud emblem of Greek history and culture and is a favorite destination for tourists and athletes alike. The venue continues to host sporting events, concerts, and official ceremonies, preserving the legacy of this legendary site.
Exploring the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens
The Panathenaic Stadium, with its grand proportions, stands as a remarkable testament to Greek history and culture. While visiting, be sure to take a look at:
The Running Track:
Measuring approximately 204 meters in length and 33 meters in width, the white marble running track is an unmissable feature of any Panathenaic Stadium tour.
The Marble Seating:
Constructed from Pentelic marble, the seating offers a sweeping view of the stadium and the track As you ascend the steps, envision thousands of spectators applauding the athletes during ancient competitions.
The Officials’ Stand:
Situated on the stadium’s west side, the officials’ stand was designated for judges, dignitaries, and prominent figures of the time. Take a moment to sit and appreciate the breathtaking view of the stadium.
The Grand Entrances:
The stadium’s monumental entrances, known as propylaea, boast elegant and stately marble arches that demonstrate the skill of the era’s architects and artisans.
The Stadium Museum:
Found at the stadium’s entrance, the museum showcases objects, photographs, and Olympic torches that tell the story of the stadium and the modern Olympic Games.
In the surrounding area, you’ll also discover archaeological remains such as statue bases and inscriptions.
The Athens Panorama:
From the topmost seats, enjoy a panoramic vista of Athens, with the Acropolis and Parthenon in the background. It’s a unique vantage point perfect for capturing memorable photos of your visit.
Getting to the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens
The Panathenaic Stadium is located in the city center of Athens, near the National Garden and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. To get there, you can take metro line 2 (red line) and get off at the “Acropolis” or “Syngrou-Fix” station. The stadium is also accessible by bus or tram. It is also possible to walk there from the Acropolis or Syntagma Square.
Athens Panathenaic Stadium Opening Hours
Barring certain exceptions, the Panathenaic Stadium is open to the public daily. The opening hours vary based on the season:
- From April to October: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
- From November to March: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Keep in mind that the hours may change due to special events or weather conditions, so it’s recommended to verify the opening hours before planning your visit.
Ticket Prices for the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens
Entrance to the Panathenaic Stadium is priced as follows:
- Standard ticket: €5
- Concession (students, seniors): €2.50
- Free entry for children under 6 years old
Tickets grant access to the stadium, museum, and a multilingual audio-guided tour.
Unleash your inner Olympian
Enjoy a day fueled by activity and jam-packed with knowledge as you learn about the ancient Olympics and try your hand at some Olympic sports then get ready to race in the Panathenaic Stadium.
👉 More info: Tickets for The Olympic Games Workout in Athens