Athens has a lot of ancient temples, but it might be even more famous for the Olympic Games. As the ancient games did not take place in Athens, they do not have the same connection to the city as the modern ones. However, it was here at the Panathenaic Stadium that Olympic hymn was heard at the first time in 1896 at the first modern Olympic Games.
What You Should Know About the Panathenaic Stadium
The stadium was built in the 4th century BC in limestone. It was later rebuilt in the 2 century AD, then in marble. The main purpose of the stadium was the Panathenaic Games. Those games took place here until the 3rd century.
After the introduction of Christianity in the 4th century AD, the stadium was mostly abandoned. It wasn’t until 1869 that it was excavated and reused for the Zappas Olympics of 1870 and 1875. Afterward, the stadium was refurbished and used for the opening ceremony of the first Olympic Games in 1896.
It took another 108 years before it saw more Olympic action. In 2004 it was the place for the archery competition and for the finish of the marathon for both men and women.
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Visiting the Panathenaic Stadium (As of May 2018)
The Panathenaic Stadium is close to a few other major sights in Athens, such as the National Garden and the Olympieion. The entrance ticket costs 5 euros. It is not a part of the special package that covers some of the archeological sites in the city.
Upon your visit, you can climb to the top of the stands, run along the tracks, visit the museum to see the collection of torches and stand at the top of the podium. In other words, you can pretend to be an Olympic winner!
Viewing the Panathenaic Stadium from a Distance
If you are on a budget and want to save the money for the entrance, it is easy to view most of the stadium from the front without entering. From there you have a great view of most of the stadium. You also have a good opportunity to get a feeling of its size. We also recommend enjoying this view even if you are going to enter the stadium.
Visiting the Panathenaic Stadium with a Toddler
Seeing most of the stadium might not be the easiest or safest with a toddler. We think that it’s a bad idea to climb the stands. However, it is easy to enjoy to enjoy the tracks, the podium, and the museum. In these places, there are none or at least very few steps in case you have a stroller. We did at least not opt to have our little one run around the stands because of the risk of a high fall in case of an accident.