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Olympia Archaeological Museum

Olympia Archaeological Museum


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Olympia Archaeological Museum is one of Greece’s principal museums. It focuses on and is located near the Ancient Greek site of Olympia. A major Greek city and the place of origin of the Olympic Games, Olympia was dedicated to Zeus and has since been extensively excavated.

History of Olympia Archaeological Museum

Excavation of the Altis site – the central, holy site around which the most important buildings in Olympia are situated – during the 19th century quickly necessitated the construction of a building to display works of art and uncovered objects. Banker Andreas Syngros therefore paid 220,000 drachmas to fund the museum’s construction.

The result is a neo-classical building on the hill of Drouva, which was finished in 1888 and was the first Greek museum built outside of Athens.

It was damaged by an earthquake in 1954, and later proved to be too small to properly house the museum’s ever-expanding collection. Plans to construct a new museum were approved in the 1970s, and though it was unused for some time, the original building was re-purposed and, since 2004, has also focused on the history of the original Olympic games alongside its displays of finds from the Olympia site.

Olympia Archaeological Museum Today

Today, the museum is comprised of twelve exhibition rooms, auxiliary spaces, and storerooms, which display a large collection of items excavated at the Altis site.

Some key finds include an expansive and famous collection of terracotta and bronze statues, as well as figurines of humans and animals, cauldrons, tripods, griffins, and sphinxes, as well as many mosaics, sculptures, and numerous other artefacts which document the long history of the Sanctuary of Zeus and the Olympic Games.

Some of the museum’s most treasured items include those from the destroyed Temple of Zeus.

The museum is a ten minute walk from the Olympia ancient ruins. It is recommended that you visit the museum after you have explored the old city in order to better understand the items’ context.

Tours are also available of both the site and the museum for those who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the area’s fascinating history and the process of excavation.

Getting to Olympia Archaeological Museum

From the Olympia Archaeological Site, the museum is a 3 minute drive via the Praxiteli Kondili (Πραξιτέλη Κονδύλη) road. It’s also a simple ten minute walk between the two sites.

From Kalamata, the museum is an hour and a half drive via the A7, E55 and EO Pirgou Kiparissias/E55/EO9 roads.


Archaeological Museum of Olympia

The Archaeological Museum of Olympia, one of the most important museums in Greece, presents the long history of the most celebrated sanctuary of antiquity, the sanctuary of Zeus, father of both gods and men, where the Olympic games were born.

The museum's permanent exhibition contains finds from the excavations in the sacred precinct of the Altis dating from prehistoric times to the Early Christian period.

Among the many precious exhibits the sculpture collection, for which the museum is most famous, the bronze collection, the richest collection of its type in the world, and the large terracottas collection, are especially noteworthy.

The museum building comprises exhibition rooms, auxiliary spaces and storerooms. The vestibule and twelve exhibition rooms contain objects excavated in the Altis. The auxiliary spaces (cafe, lavatories) are located in the museum's east wing a separate building between the museum and the archaeological site houses a book and souvenir shop. Finally, part of the east wing and the basement are dedicated to storage and conservation of terracottas, bronze, stone, mosaics and minor objects.

The Archaeological Museum of Olympia, supervised by the Seventh Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, was reorganized in 2004 to meet modern museological standards.


The Archaeological Museum of Ancient Olympia

The Archaeological Museum of Olympia, one of the most important museums in Greece, presents the long history of the most celebrated sanctuary of antiquity, the sanctuary of Zeus, father of both gods and men, where the Olympic games were born. The museum's permanent exhibition contains finds from the excavations in the sacred precinct of the Altis dating from prehistoric times to the Early Christian period.Among the many precious exhibits the sculpture collection, for which the museum is most famous, the bronze collection, the richest collection of its type in the world, and the large terracottas collection, are especially noteworthy.

The museum building comprises exhibition rooms, auxiliary spaces and storerooms. The vestibule and twelve exhibition rooms contain objects excavated in the Altis. The auxiliary spaces (lavatories) are located in the museum's east wing a separate building between the museum and the archaeological site houses a book and souvenir shop. Finally, part of the east wing and the basement are dedicated to storage and conservation of terracottas, bronze, stone, mosaics and minor objects.

The Archaeological Museum of Olympia, supervised by the Seventh Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, was reorganized in 2004 to meet modern museological standards.

The sculptured ornaments from the Temple of Zeus.

There were 42 figures decorating the 2 pediments of the temple, 12 metopes and the lion-headed water spouts running along the lengths of the temple. It is one of the best surviving ensembles from ancient Greek works of art. They belong to the "austere style" and date to the 1st half of the 5th century B.C.
The eastern pediment depicts the chariot race between Pelops and Oinomaos, and the central figure which dominates the work is of Zeus. The western pediment depicts the abduction of the Lapith women by Centaurs, and has Apollo as its central figure. The metopes bear the relief representation of Hercules' labours. These sculptures were made during the 5th century B.C.

Hermes of Praxiteles

One of the masterpieces of ancient Greek art. Hermes, as Pausanias informs us, is depicted carrying the infant Dionysos. Made from Parian marble it stands 2,10m in height. It is thought to be an original of the great sculptor and it is dated to ca. 330 B.C.

Nike of Paionios

The statue depicts a winged woman. An inscription on the base states that the statue was dedicated by the Messenians and the Naupactians for their victory against the Lacedaemonians (Spartans), in the Archidamian (Peloponnesian) war prabably in 421 B.C. It is the work of the sculptor Paionios of Mende in Chalkidiki, who also made the acroteria of the Temple of Zeus.
Nike, cut from Parian marble, has a height of 2,115m, but with the tips of her (now broken) wings would have reached 3m. In its completed form, the monument with its triangular base (8,81m high) would have stood at the height of 10,92m. giving the impression of Nike triumphantly descending from Olympos. It dates from 421 B.C.

A terracotta statuette depicting Zeus carrying off young Ganymedes. Probably an acroterion of a temple, dated to 480-470 B.C.


The Helmet of Miltiades

Dedication by Miltiades, as the inscription informs us "Miltiades dedicates to Zeus". It is the same helmet worn by the Athenian general in the battle of Marathon, where he defeated the Persians, and thus offered it to Zeus as a sign of gratitude.

Bronze battering-ram

The only surviving besieging instrument of its kind from Antiquity. On all sides of the battering-ram there are symbolic depictions of rams heads, from where indeed it got its name. 5th century B.C.
Museum number B2360.


Bronze horse

It is dated in the transition between the Geometric to the Archaic period. It is unique for its monumentality on comparison with the small scale of other artefacts from the Geometric period.
Museum number B1741.

The collections are displayed in a modern way. A chronological order, easy to understand information panels and subtle lighting, make visiting a museum in Ancient Olympia an enjoyable family event.


Museum of the History of the Excavations at Olympia

Right next to the Museum of the History of the Olympic Games in Antiquity, visitors will find this informative building, which was renovated in 2004. The Olympia excavation is one of the earliest to be carried out in Greece and it provided an example for the methodology that has been implemented for other excavations that followed. It began in 1875 by the German Archaeological Institute—after the signing of an agreement between the Greek and German states, which defined the terms and obligations of each part.

At the museum, visitors will see a model of the sanctuary made by Hans Schleif according to the plan of W. Dörpfeld. The exhibitions include the engravings of the plain of Olympia before the beginning of the excavations, photographs of the first campaigns, the historic agreement of 1875 between Greece and Germany, instruments and excavation tools, documents associated with the excavations, photographs of more recent excavations, and other memorabilia.


Olympia Archaeological Museum - History

Permanent exhibition of the Olympia Archaeological Museum

Through the many exhibits of the permanent exhibition of the Archaeological Museum of Olympia the visitor is introduced to the history of the great Pan-Hellenic sanctuary from the Early Bronze Age to the sixth-seventh centuries AD. The sculpted decoration (metopes and pediments) of the temple of Zeus, the most important example of the Severe Style in Greek art, the statue of Nike by Paionios and the Hermes of Praxiteles are the museum's pieces de resistance. Equally important is the bronze collection, the richest of its kind in the world.

The recently reorganized exhibition occupies twelve galleries set out in chronological order. Its aim is to present the objects, inform the visitor in a simple yet scientific manner and assist him/her according to the latest museological standards. It gives a full picture of the historical development of both the sanctuary and ancient Greek art through a wide selection of exhibits, as well as information panels, maps, drawings, photographs and reconstructions and models of the monuments.


My Olympia Tour “ History”

The iconic Ancient Olympia Archaeological Site is where the Olympic Games started thousands of years ago!

Visitors can sense magical feel of this historic stadium. The Olympic Games, born in Ancient Olympia, were the most famous sporting events of the times (and still are!). They made their debut in this very location, in this very stadium, in 776 B.C.

Even today, Ancient Olympia is one of the most extraordinary archaeological sites in the world!

The Museum of Ancient Olympia is just a 5-minute walk from the archaeological site.

Olympia Museum Exhibits

The remarkable Olympia Museum is home to some of the most incredible findings from excavations that date back to prehistoric times!

The museum boasts an exciting collection of exhibits, with numerous must-see sculptures. Its impressive bronze findings make it one of the most precious collections in the world!

The Museum of Ancient Olympia exhibits includes:

  • the world-famous sculpture of Hermes, made by Praxiteles
  • the sculpture decoration of the Temple of Zeus – one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world
  • the statue of Nike by Paeonios

No one should ever travel to Greece and NOT visit this incredibly important museum. A visit to the Olympia Museum must be on your bucket list of things to do in Greece.

2. Visit the Village

Walk among tourists from all over the world on the main strip in the village of Olympia where you’ll find all kinds of souvenirs to take back home.

Stop by the various jewelry shops and treat yourself to artistic, one-of-a-kind show-stopping pieces.

Take a break and enjoy a coffee or beverage of your choice in one of the many trendy cafes. Or, allow yourself more time to taste the delicacies of Greece in the town’s restaurants.

3. Choose from the Following Tour Destinations

Olympic Land Winery

The Olympic Land Winery vineyards, which produce high-quality wine, is only 2 km from the town of Olympia! Consider a visit to the winery to try the exquisite wine varieties and sample the traditional flavors of the area.

Klio’s Honey Farm

Klio’s Honey Farm is located in the town of Olympia. Klio, the apiarist (beekeeper), welcomes visitors to her farm where she enthusiastically reveals the secrets behind honey production.

Taste Klio’s fresh products – all from her farm, and enjoy her traditional homemade sweets. After a visit to the honey farm, you’ll have tasted Greek hospitality!

Magna Grecia Estate

Visit Magna Grecia Estate, the enchanted land that overflows with olive trees. Visitors have the opportunity to enjoy the taste Greek cuisine, pure virgin olive oil, plump olives, and tasty wine, in a fun environment where local dancers will dance to traditional Greek music with you.

Monastery of the Virgin Mary (Panagia Kremasti)

Suspended from the rock upon which it rises, the stunning Monastery of Panagia Kremasti (Kremasti meaning “hanging”) never fails to impress visitors.

It was named so about 800 years ago, according to the writings, when the locals noticed a light emerging from the hole of the rock. To find its source, they tied and lowered someone into the hole, where an icon of the Virgin Mary was found.

Saint Andreas Beach or Skafidia Beach

Saint Andreas Beach, located 2 km away from Katakolon Port is one of the most beautiful beaches for your summer holidays. The unique beach, with its pristine waters, ideal for swimming, also features a mountainous terrain. Have a refreshing drink or enjoy a delicious meal in one of the waterfront cafes and restaurants.

Alternatively, take a swim in the crystal clear waters of Skafidia Beach. Allow yourself to be seduced by the natural beauty of the small gulf as you soak up the sun, and leave some extra time to have a drink or dine by the water.

What to Expect on Our Tours – Duration

The tour duration is between 4 and 4.5 hours. Our program is flexible if you would like to make some changes. Just let us know, and we will adjust it to your liking!

We can also suggest routes and attractions so that you get the most out of your tour.

The Meeting Point

MINIVAN Tours – The meeting point for the Minivan Tours is at the first exit of the Katakolon Port.

TAXI Tours – The meeting point for Taxi Tours is just outside the dock gate where the taxis are parked.

Tour Information

What is included in the price

  • Transportation to all the destinations and sites mentioned in the tour.
  • Our company provides tourist brochures to inform you of the sites and places you will visit in Ancient Olympia. **Tourist brochures must be returned.**
  • We will transport you from the agreed-upon meeting point and return you to the place you wish.
  • The tourist program is flexible and adjustable. We can make changes on the road for your convenience!
  • Transport by private vehicle.
  • Professional driver.
  • Skip the line.
  • Bottled water.
  • All taxes included.

What is not included in the price

  • Tickets to the Ancient Olympia Museum (not included) give you access to the museum, the archaeological site, and the museum of the history of the Olympic Games.
    General Admission: 12 Euros
    E.U. Seniors: 6 Euros
    Ages 0 – 17: FREE
    E.U. Students: FREE
    Foreign Students: 6 Euros
  • Tickets to the wineries
  • Admission: Varies according to the services.
    ** Admission fees are subject to change. You will receive an email confirming the admission fees before your visit.**
  • A personal tour guide can be hired for your visit to the museum and the archaeological site for an additional cost.
  • Our professional tour guides are certified by the Ministry of Culture.

Highlights

1. Tour to the Ancient Olympia archaeological site and museum.
2. Visit to the village.
3. Winery Olympic Land- The Honey Farm of Klio – Magna Grecia Estate – Monastery Panagia Kremasti.
4. Saint Andreas Beach OR Skafidia Beach.


Quotes about the Olympics

“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”
– Pierre de Coubertin – founder of the modern Olympic Games

“If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.”
– Mark Spitz – Nine-time Olympic swimming champion

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
– Michael Jordan – double Olympic champion, basketball

“You have to believe in yourself when no one else does — that makes you a winner right there.”
– Venus Williams – four-time Olympic gold medalist, tennis

“I don’t run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet.”
– Nadia Comaneci, gold-medal gymnast

“Never put an age limit on your dream.”
– Dara Torres – four-time Olympic champion, swimming

“This ability to conquer oneself is no doubt the most precious of all things sports bestows.”
– Olga Korbut four-time medalist, gymnastics

“The Olympics remain the most compelling search for excellence that exists in sport, and maybe in life itself.”
– Dawn Fraser – Australian Olympic Champion

“Holding an Olympic Games means evoking history. ”
– Pierre de Coubertin

Archaeological Museum of Olympia

  • Name: Archaeological Museum of Olympia
  • Greek: Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο Ολυμπίας
  • Established: 1882
  • Location: Olympia, Elis, Greece
  • Country: Greece
  • Type: Archaeological Museum

“Holding an Olympic Games means evoking history. ”
– Pierre de Coubertin


Olympia Archaeological Museum - History

The Archaeological Museum of Olympia, one of the most important museums in Greece, presents the long history of the most celebrated sanctuary of antiquity, the sanctuary of Zeus, father of both gods and men, where the Olympic games were born.

The museum’s permanent exhibition contains finds from the excavations in the sacred precinct of the Altis dating from prehistoric times to the Early Christian period. Among the many precious exhibits from the Ancient Olympia the sculpture collection, for which the museum is most famous, the bronze collection, the richest collection of its type in the world, and the large terracottas collection are especially noteworthy.

The museum building comprises exhibition rooms, auxiliary spaces, and storerooms. The vestibule and twelve exhibition rooms contain objects excavated in the Altis. The auxiliary spaces (lavatories) are located in the museum’s east wing a separate building between the museum and the archaeological site houses a book and souvenir shop. Finally, part of the east wing and the basement are dedicated to the storage and conservation of terracottas, bronze, stone, mosaics and minor objects.

The Archaeological Museum of Ancient Olympia, supervised by the Seventh Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, was reorganized in 2004 to meet modern museological standards.


Olympia Archaeological Museum - History

The Archaeological Museum of Olympia, one of the most important museums in Greece, presents the long history of the most celebrated sanctuary of antiquity, the sanctuary of Zeus, father of both gods and men, where the Olympic games were born. The museum's permanent exhibition contains finds from the excavations in the sacred precinct of the Altis dating from prehistoric times to the Early Christian period. Among the many precious exhibits the sculpture collection, for which the museum is most famous, the bronze collection, the richest collection of its type in the world, and the large terracottas collection, are especially noteworthy.

The museum building comprises exhibition rooms, auxiliary spaces and storerooms. The vestibule and twelve exhibition rooms contain objects excavated in the Altis. The auxiliary spaces (caf?, lavatories) are located in the museum's east wing a separate building between the museum and the archaeological site houses a book and souvenir shop. Finally, part of the east wing and the basement are dedicated to storage and conservation of terracottas, bronze, stone, mosaics and minor objects.

The Archaeological Museum of Olympia, supervised by the Seventh Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, was reorganized in 2004 to meet modern museological standards.


Archaeological Site of Ancient Olympia

The extensive ruins of the archaeological site of Olympia include the Sanctuary of Zeus and many buildings surrounding it, such as the Temple of Hera, administrative buildings, the stadium, and more! The athletic training areas were used for the Olympic Games preparation and celebration.

Altis Sanctuary

The Altis is the sanctuary to the gods and home to the greatest collection of masterpieces in one location in ancient Greece. The sacred sanctuary was separated from the stadium by an enclosure wall – a peribolos – which once had three gates and the Echo Stoa!

During Roman Times, the enclosure wall was further extended on the west side, with the addition of two monumental entrances.

The temples dedicated to Zeus and Hera dominate the Altis Sanctuary. East of the Temple of Hera (Heraion) is the temple of Metroon, dedicated to Cybele, the mother of the gods.

Just steps away, at the foot of Mount Kronos (Mount Kronios), is a series of Treasuries built by Greek colonies and cities to store valuable offerings.

To the west lies the Nymphaion, a splendid fountain dedicated by Herodes Atticus.

To the south of the Heraion is the Pelopion, the alleged tomb of Pelops – a hero in Greek mythology, built upon the remains of the prehistoric settlement of Olympia.

The Altis also houses the Prytaneion and the Philippeion, a circular, marble and limestone memorial – the only structure in the Altis dedicated to a human – King Philip II of Macedonia.

Southeast of the Heraion was the altar of Zeus, a most important monument made entirely of ashes and therefore is now lost. Many altars and statues of gods, heroes, and Olympic winners, dedicated by Greek cities or the elite, filled the remaining space inside the Altis.

The Bouleuterion (an assembly house for local legislatures) is just south of the Altis, and just below it is the South Stoa, the southernmost building of the celebrated sanctuary, and its main entrance from the south.

On the west side of the Altis, separated by the Sacred Road, is a row of buildings that housed, the sanctuary personnel, the athletes, and distinguished visitors. These included the:

  • Gymnasium
  • Palaestra
  • Exercise grounds
  • Greek baths and the swimming pool
  • Roman hot baths
  • Theokoleion residence
  • Leonidaion quarters
  • Workshop of Pheidias (later transformed into a Christian church)
  • Roman hostels

To the east of the Altis lies the stadium where the Olympic Games were held. The hippodrome, of which no trace remains, having been swept away by the Alpheios, was situated to the south of the stadium.

Some mansions and baths, including the House of Nero, are located to the south of the hippodrome. These were built by the emperor for his stay at Olympia, for his participation in the Olympic Games.


Watch the video: Μουσείο Ολυμπίας 19821 Archaeological Museum of Olympia (December 2022).

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