Olympia stadium 38km from katakolon
The stadium of Olympia, situated east of the sacred Altis enclosure, was where the ancient Olympic Games and the Heraia, the women's games in honour of Hera, were held. Before the sixth century BC the running events were held on a flat area along the treasuries' terrace, east of the great altar of Zeus. A first stadium (Stadium I) was formed in the Archaic period (mid sixth century BC) by leveling the area south of the Kronios hill inside the Altis. The west short side of the stadium faced the altar of Zeus, to whom the Games were dedicated. In the late sixth century BC a new stadium (Stadium II) was created east of its predecessor, with a racetrack extending beyond the treasuries' terrace; an artificial bank, three metres high, was formed along the south side, while the hill side formed a natural seating area along the north. The stadium received its final form (Stadium III) in the fifth century when the great temple of Zeus was built. By then the Games had become very popular, attracting a great number of both visitors and athletes, so a new stadium was deemed necessary. The new stadium was moved eighty-two metres to the east and seven metres to the north, and was surrounded by artificial banks for the spectators. After the construction of the Echo-hall in the mid-fourth century BC the stadium was isolated from the Altis, which shows that the Games had lost their purely religious character and had become more of an athletic and social event. The racetrack is 212.54 metres long and 30-34 metres wide. Two stone markers 192.27 metres apart - that is one Olympic stade or six hundred Olympic feet (1 foot=32.04 metres), indicate the starting and finishing lines. On the south bank is a podium for judges, and opposite this, on the north bank, the altar of Demeter Chamyne, whose priestess was the only woman allowed to watch the games. The stadium could accommodate approximately forty-five thousand people, but the banks never had permanent seats. There were a few stone seats for the officials, and wooden benches may have been added in Roman times when the stadium was repaired (Stadium IV-V). A stone drain round the track opened at intervals into small basins where rain water collected. A vaulted entrance for the athletes, thirty-two metres long, the so-called Krypte, was built in the late third century BC and a monumental portico was added to its west extremity in the Roman period. A large number of votive offerings, mostly of bronze, were found inside the wells along the embankments. Originally there to supply the spectators with drinking water, these wells, which date to the Archaic period, were subsequently used as votive pits. The early German excavations first investigated the race track, but the recent German excavations of 1952-1966 uncovered the entire monument. In 2004, the ancient stadium of Olympia will re-live its former glory, since it will host the shot put event of the Athens Olympic Games.
The Castle of Chlemoutsi 35 min from katakolon
The Chlemoutsi Castle is a very antique construction situated on a hill in the Greek region kastro kyllinis. From this castle, visitors can enjoy an amazing view on the surroundings and observe the vegetation and rocky formations which have been witness of the history of the construction for many centuries. All those tourists who are fond of architecture, design, and history, should not miss meeting this construction while being in this area of Peloponnese.
The Castle of Chlemoutsi was built between 1220 and 1224 by Geoffrey I Villehardouin, a Prince who was the first inhabitant in this construction. After this, the Franks invaded the region and took control of the Castle, becoming its inhabitants for several years. During that epoque, this castle was very famous in the region and was considered a very important spot by the Peloponnesians.
After being inhabited by the Frankish, the Chlemoutsi Castle was home of several other invaders, such as per example, the Turkish, and the Venetians. All these inhabitants and the variety of events the castle has gone through gave shape to the way it looks today, although it has maintained its original structure and most of its characteristics almost unchanged.
The Castle of Chlemoutsi is often shown as a clear example of Frankish architecture due to its structure and general appearance. This castle or fortress was built following typical Frankish guidelines and is one of the clearest examples of a construction of such style in the Peloponnese, a factor which often attracts architects from all over the world who approach in order to meet this structure and its peculiarities.
The Castle of Chlemoutsi shows two main areas. One of these areas, known as the inner enclosure, contains a chapel, a small residence, and a bigger residence where the Prince used to live. The other area, the outer enclosure, used to have several smaller rooms and buildings, such as per example a mosque. In general, this construction shows softly pointed arches with many halls and doors along with a variety of small rooms. Several of these rooms still maintain their original appearance.
Katakolon - olympia half day tours
- Transfers to/from any destination in Greece - Excursions along the katakolon and any other tourist site - Tailormade tours of Greece - Shore excursions for cruise clients from the harbour.
(katakolon port, ancient olympia, kyllini port, Patras port, Corfu port, Venizelos Athens airport etc)
Euro 35* pp 4 hours tour