History of Patras
Aroe was the core of ancient Patras. Patreus, an Achaean from Sparta, not wanting to suffer the consequences of the capture of his city from Dories, came as leader of the colonizers to the land of Aroe and managed to expatriate the Ions living there.
He expanded and walled the city, he also managed to achieve the unison of seven pre-historic agricultural settlements and he gave his name to that new city. Built at a strategic site, coastal with its back covered from the Panachaec Mountain and in small distance from the coasts of Aetoloacarnania very close to Ionian Islands and on the way to Italy, Patras was gifted in everything to play an important role in history. During the Peloponnesian War, we find it either on the side of Athens or on that of Peloponnesians. The end of the war though finds it on the side of the winners.
Patras’ contribution to the restoration of the Achaean Co- states (280 B.C.) was significant. It was about the revival of Achaeans, “Achaean Common”. Patras was subjugated to Rome in 146 B.C. August had noted the privileged and significant post of Patras (31 B.C.) and made sure that veteran Romans settled here as colonists. The Roman emperors Tiverius, Neron and Adrianos but also others offered at times privileges to Patras, which soon transformed to a brilliant famous city. During the 2nd century A.D., Patras was at its highest peak and the sightseer Pausanias visits it. The presence and activity of Apostle Andrew in the city at Nero’s time gives a new character to it. So, Patras becomes a field of several religions’ conflicts till the final prevalence of Christianity. With the transfer of the Roman capital to Constantinople, 330 A.D., Patras starts to decay. In 807 A.D., the city is captured by Slavs. Later, it falls into the hands of Franks, Venetians and finally in Turks.
It is one of the first cities to rebel against Turks in 1821. During the Revolution, it was nearly destroyed. The modern city was built by Kapodistrias on the remains of the ancient one.
Patras is presently a modern city with important industrial and commercial traffic while its port is one of the most vital of Greece and a gate to the West.
The first traces of Olympia are barely known. The oldest marks of human presence in the area date back to the 3rd millennium B.C. In the 9th century B.C. Olympia was already a sacred place attracting many pilgrims. This large quantity of visitors is witnessed by the great number of gifts they sent to Olympia not only from the areas nearby but also from places of the Peloponnese and Central Greece.
In the 8th century, the reputation of Olympia was so expanded that it reached East and Mesopotamia and to the West till South Italy. A turning point in Olympia’s history was the year 776 B.C. when at the time of surrender, Spartan Lycurgus must have made an agreement with the King of Ilida, Iphitos, for the organization of rituals in Olympia. Part of the agreement was that during those celebrations peace would prevail all over Greece.
During the 5th century, the appeal of Olympia reached such a degree that politicians, philosophers and artists gathered there as they would find a big crowd for the communication of their ideas. In the 4thcentury, importance was placed on building activity for the improvement of structures and creation of new lodgings for the visitors.
In 339 A.D. the Byzantine emperor Theodosius A ordered the closing down of all Greek temples without any explanation which exactly places he meant. However, the place remained quite popular over the following years. It suffered much destruction later out of natural causes and during the 9th century it was abandoned and deserted. Over the years it got covered under the ground deep down due to Kladeus torrent and the corrosion of the soil of the Cronean Hill. The discovery of the sanctuary is owed to English Richard Chandler in 1776.
It was built in 456B.C. and is a prototype sample of Doric rhythm. On the narrow sides it had 6 columns while on the long ones 13, a total of 34 columns. On the eastern pediment there was a graph of the fight between Oinomaus and Pelopas while on the western, the legendary battle between Centaurs and Lapitheans. In the interior of the temple, many gifts were kept safe among which the most important being the gold statue of Zeus 13m tall built in Olympia in the decade of 430 B.C. by sculptor Fidias.
Entrance to the stadium
The entrance to the stadium was allowed only to the committee members, athletes and heroes. The stadium could hold 45,000 spectators. On its one side was built on the natural slope of the hill. On its other side was built on an artificial slope to serve the necessary tilt.
The gymnasium was the place for the training of athletes. Kreon had spent six months training in the stadium. The gymnasium was covered under a roof all along so that athletes could train in races despite adverse weather conditions.
A. Archeological museum of Patras
Tel: 2610 640413
B. Historic and Ethnologic Museum
Tel: 2610 274962
C. Museum of Popular Art
Tel: 2610 334713
D. Press Museum
Tel: 2610 310488
E. Museum of Ancient Olympic Games
Tel: 26240 29119
F. Ancient Olympia Museum
Tel: 26240 23753
Tel: Moel Travel and Conferences: 2106203614
A beautiful excursion you could go on around Ancient Olympia is the excursion to Floka and see the outdoor theater above the hill, built according to ancient order. Also, one could go on to visit the Alfeius dam.
1. Ancient theater "Floka"
2. Alfeius dam
Tel: Moel Travel and Conferences 2106203614