Friday, 26 July 2013

Panathinaiko Stadium Greece

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The Panathinaiko Stadium, also called Kallimarmaron, is an impressive Athens stadium near the heart of the city, southeast of the Parliament Building and the National Garden. The Panathinaiko stadium dates back to ancient times, when it was a venue hosting athletic events for the Panathenaic Games. It was originally constructed primarily with wood, receiving an upgrade in 329 BC, when pentelic marble from the mountains north of Athens was used to renovate the stadium. The name, Kallimarmaron, means "beautifully marbled". This Athens stadium must have been impressive in its past, and it continues to impress visitors with its scale and history. While mankind has come so far since the stadium was first built, such monuments remind us that we share undeniable links to those who came before us. 

We still enjoy the pageantry and excitement associated with athletic competitions, and sports heroes serve as icons and role models in today's society. As the modern Olympics continue to enjoy worldwide acclaim and popularity since their "re-birth" in 1896, we can look back in history at venues like Kallimarmaron and realize that maybe things haven't changed so much since ancient times. Athens is often called the birthplace of civilization, much in part due to the fact that modern society is so influenced from the city's past civil and social achievements. The Panathinaiko Stadium is just one of the many relics found in Athens that shows the greatness of past societies that have so shaped the world we live in today.

The Athens stadium of Panathinaiko, after serving for years as a wood venue for the Panathenaic Games, was rebuilt in marble in 329 BC by the archon Lycurgus. In 140 AD, Herodes Atticus would produce the funds to both enlarge and further renovate the stadium. Herodes was a wealthy individual who funded public projects around Greece. His ancient theater, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, can also be found in Athens, and still holds concerts today. Long after Herodes passed, the Panathenaic Stadium would become neglected and remain out of use. That's until excavations and restorations funded by the wealthy Greek businessman, Evangelos Zappas, were carried out at Kallimarmaron in an effort to bring back the Olympic Games. The stadium, once used to host the Panathenaic Games, was set to become an Athens Olympic Stadium. Versions of the Olympic Games would be held at the stadium in 1870 and 1875. As Olympic fervor grew, another businessman, George Averoff, would fund more renovations to the Kallimarmaron Athens stadium, which would serve as the primary stadium for the Olympic Games in 1896.

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