The Panathenaic Stadium in Athens is the only stadium in the world made entirely of marble. It was originally built in 330 BC, and then refurnished with marble in 144 AD, with a capacity of 50,000 seats.
It was build to host the Panathenaic Games, in honor of the goddess Athena, which was a religious and athletic celebration hosted every four years. Sounds like the birthplace of the modern Olympic games, no?
This stadium also hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1896 Summer Olympics, which was the first modern international Olympic games as we now know them today.
30,o00 people attended; however, only males were allowed to participate.
Original features of the stadium are still intact, such as these seats build for royalty.
A small tunnel off the ground level near the track leads through a dimly lit corridor into a museum of the stadium. At the back, there’s a room bearing every modern Olympic torch and poster to date.
I had no idea these were all kept in one place, let alone tucked away in this ancient stadium – I got to run my hands over them and imagine what treasured athletes had held them before me!
I’m not a runner at all. In middle school I attempted to run track, but usually came in last and often skipped practice to get ice cream with my friends instead. But while I was here, I had to take off my shoes and do a lap around this ancient and historical track.
I have to say, I felt like such a badass as I came around the final curve to my friends cheering. Who knows, maybe ancient Greece is what it will take to get me running again…but probably not.
The Panathenaic Stadium is located in downtown Athens and is open year-round and only costs 5€ to enter.