Ancient Olympia - Archeological Museum ( 4.5 hours)
From Katakolon, you head towards Olympia, one of the foremost sites of ancient Greece and the birthplace of the Olympic Games. These were first held in honour of Zeus in 776 BC, and they took place every four years without interruption until they were banned by the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius in 393 AD. They were subsequently revived in 1896 by Pierre de Coubertin. During the course of the visit you will see the remains of the Gymnasium and the Palestra, a sports arena, where the athletes, particularly the wrestlers, were trained. View the temple of Zeus which was hosting the giant statue of Olympian Zeus, one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Ancient World’. A few columns have been re-erected among the remains of the imposing foundations of the temple of Hera (Heraion) where many statues were found and which still nowadays is the scenery for the lightening of the Olympic flame. The Greek city state built some dozen treasuries in the form of small Doric temples on a terrace overlooking the sanctuary and it was here that offering were made to the Gods. See the Stadium where the marble starting blocks are still in position. A short walk from the site is the Archaeological museum, containing a fascinating collection of Greek sculpture, including the famous statue of Hermes by Praxiteles, a masterpiece of classical art from the 4th century BC and the Winged Victory (Nike) of Paionios. Surrounding the central hall which is devoted to the pediments and metopes of the temple of Zeus you will find a series of rooms containing relics found during the excavations. Continue on foot to the nearby modern village of Olympia where you can browse for souvenirs. Return back to Katakolo over the same road.
Olympia & Mercouri Winery ( 4.5 hours)
The small fishing village of Katákolon is your gateway to the mystical site of ancient Olympia, 25 miles to the east. The sanctuary of Olympia has the appearance of a park, and as you step back 2,000 years into the past, imagine the area crowded with athletes, orators, merchants and philosophers surrounding the Temple of Zeus with its forty-foot statue of the god, the ruins of which you will see today. It’s easy to imagine the roar of the spectators as the athletes took their marks on the marble starting blocks, and to picture the temples, treasuries, porticoes and statues as they were. After your visit to Olympia, you will continue to the Mercouri Estate, known not only for its wines of supreme quality but also for its magnificent location. This is the area where the Refosco grape was first planted after being imported from Italy. In 1930, the Mercouris built a modern winery and distillery, updated again in 1990 with the latest technology. You are invited to experience the beauty and charm of the vineyards, to see the old and new wineries, and also to taste the locally produced wines
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