Ancient Olympia

I recently visited Olympia, a truly beautiful, very quiet, and most definitely one of the most nature-rich parts of the Peloponnese.

While the general prefecture of Elis is not particularly attractive, Ancient Olympia, perhaps partly due to its position as a world heritage site, partly as a byproduct of the Athens Olympic Games of 2004 where a large part of the town, roads, and infrastructure were upgraded to meet the requirements for the shot put event that took place at the ancient stadium, manages to combine beautiful, unspoilt natural surroundings with a civilised, cosmopolitan and respectful atmosphere to it, so sorely lacking in most of the country. The area is unexpectedly beautiful to the newcomer, surrounded by large pine and cypress trees, good maintained roads and a beautiful, aristocratic entrance to the town that includes a view of the Ancient Olympia site, a renovated square that is overlooked by a large mansion, the first hotel of the town called ‘SPAP’ and now property of the Ministry of Culture. The town hosts several sights for the scholarly (or history buffs), such as the Archaeological Museum, the Olympic Games museum, the Pierre de Coubertin monument and of course the ancient site of Olympia.
In short, the site and to some extent the town present a very different (and attractive) view of Hellas that is so rare and very welcome. It is unfortunate that the much of the rest of the prefecture has little to do with Olympia and is typical of that omnipresent modern Hellenic kitsch (cf. magnificent natural sights spoilt by buildings, rubbish, cars, cement, neglect and, people).
Here are some photos of the ancient site of Olympia for your viewing pleasure.

Pillar at OlympiaStadium starting lineTemple at Ancient Olympia
Stadium in perspectiveStadium in perspective
Pillar HeadPillar Path