Tours in Greece


NEMEA - Nemea Games

Nemea (41 km. from Corinthos) is close to the limits of the state of Argolida. This municipality is surrounded by an abundance of grapevines, which have given Nemea fame for the good wine they produce. Even in ancient times Nemea was renowned as being the place in Greek Mythology where Hercules killed the fearful lion. In the ancient site of Nemea the most notable building is the temple of Zeus ( 40c BC), The archaeological digs (which are still going on ) have brought to light baths and arenas, a stadium and foundations of other buildings.

The Nemea Games were established as a Pan-Hellenic festival in 573 BC. They were held every two years at Nemea, which lies in the low eastern hills of the Arcadian mountains. The games were under the control of Kleonai and from the end of the 5th c. BC onwards of Argos. According to the earliest myth, the foundation of the Nemea games goes back to the funeral games organized by the Seven Against Thebes in honor of the dead Opheltes. According to a later version, they were founded by Hercules to show his gratitude to the gods for helping him to kill the Nemea Lion.

The temple of Zeus, erected in 330 BC at the centre of the sanctuary, is one of the earliest ancient buildings in which all three architectural orders were applied: the outer colonnade is Doric, while the inner has Corinthian and Ionic columns in two levels. The underground crypt at the back of the cella is unique in Greek architecture.

  The crypt now is the home of this sneak. Its name in Greek is Oxia (Ochia) and is poisons. 

Pausanias ( the great ancient traveler) who visited Nemea in the 2ndc AD he wrote: "Here is a temple of Nemea Zeus worth seeing although the roof has fallen in and the cult statue is missing". The Altar of Zeus. to the east of the temple, is a very long structure, possibly to enable the athletes to make sacrifices and swear their oath as a group. 

Systematic archaeological excavations have uncovered a large part of the sanctuary of Zeus and the stadium.

Nemea Tour

The stadium which was built towards the end of the 4th c BC, lies tot he south-east of the temple. It was 600 feet in length and one of its ends was curved. Important remains of the Stadium's starting block and its starting mechanism were found when the track was excavated. An important part of the Stadium was its hidden entrance - a  vaulted underground tunnel through which athletes coming from the temple of Zeus entered the Stadium

NEMEA 2012. In 1996, 2000,2004and 2008 , history was made... and lived. The Nemea Games were born. On June 21st, 22nd a part of History.  The fourth Nemea Games in modern times will take place on June 21, 22 of 2012

The ancient Greeks celebrated festivals at Nemea that were part of the cycle of Games at Delphi, Isthmia and (best known today) Olympia. At each of these four cities in rotation, for a brief period each year, wars and hostilities were suspended by a sacred truce and all Greeks - Spartans and Athenians, Corinthians and Argives, Macedonians and Cretans -gathered in recognition of their common humanity.

This impulse toward peace - albeit limited to a few days each year - was the first in the history of mankind on an organized regular and international scale. Thus , the ancient festivals at Nemea, Olymia, Delphi and Isthmia are the direct answers of today's Olympic games as well as of the United Nations. The Society for the Revival of the Nemea Games (which now has more than 12200 members from around the world) was founded in the belief that there is today scope and perhaps even need for the average person -regardless of ethnicity, language, religion, gender age or athletic ability to participate in an international athletic festival. And so it happened in the three past Nemea Games. More than 1800 people from 45 different countries, ranging in age from 10 to 90, added their footprints to those of ages long ago while thousands spectators looked on. No records were kept and no medals were awarded, families with picnics on the slopes of the stadium were as much a part of the festival as the runners. Races were organized by gender and age and were interspersed with music and dance.

All the participants ran barefoot and in ancient tunics which they put on in the ancient locker room. And they entered the stadium through the same tunnel where athletes passed in the 4th century BC. They started from the same stone line and with the same starting mechanism and the winners received the same initial tokens of victory - a ribbon tied around the head and a palm branch and at the end of the day the victors received the same crown of wild celery that was the ephemeral symbol of victory at the ancient Nemea Games. But at the same time all the participants were rewarded with feet sore from contact with the same earth where ancient feet ran more than 2.000 years ago -

and by the knowledge that they had been in direct physical contact with an ancient idea, an ancient spirit that still lives in the earth of Nemea. Around the temple is an open area with a a sacred grove cypresses, on the south side were the oikoi, which were club houses built by various city- states at the end of the 5thc BC. The buildings on the south side of the sanctuary include the hostel and bathhouse.

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