Take a true Olympian holiday where the Games first began
Posted on Saturday 04 August 2012
in Travel, Holidays, Greece, Athens
By Dylan Thomas
While many travellers are headed for London in celebration of the 2012 Olympic Games, there's another way that Kiwis can honour hundreds of world-class athletes and spend an exhilarating holiday in an adventurous city. Greece's history as the origin of the Games makes it a perfect destination for those who cannot hide their enthusiasm about the sporting events and the tales of blood, sweat and tears behind every athlete's arduous journey.
Many of the historic sites that were key elements in the first Olympia games in 776 BC are remarkably still present in the ancient country. Taking Athens holidays can lead Kiwis to learn about the pinnacle first games that tested Greeks' endurance, strength and passion, as well as which activities have withstood time and are still practised today.
Temple of Zeus
Although the entire structure of the Temple of Olympian Zeus is not intact, the columns that are still standing give visitors an idea of just how monstrous this historic structure must have been. Of the original 104 Corinthian columns, 15 stand in the heart of Athens today, and Kiwis can stand before them, posing like the original Greeks that chariot-raced, boxed and discus-tossed their way to victory.
Of course, a trip to Athens would not be complete without a visit to the Parthenon and Acropolis, two of the most visited landmarks in all of Greece. The Parthenon, standing at the top of the Acropolis of Athens for about 2,500 years, is also called the Temple of Athena the Virgin, in honour of the patron goddess of wisdom, war and justice.
Considered a perfect example of Doric order, one of the three primary styles of Greek architecture, the historic temple is a structure that must be seen in order to understand its immense beauty. When Kiwis step foot on the magnificent ruins, they can imagine what it might have been like to watch the original Olympic Games centuries ago, when more was at stake than simply winning or losing. At times, athletes died while competing.
Ancient city turned new again
Since the early centuries, Athens has hosted the Olympic Games twice - once in 1896 and again in 2004. As the last event was in the past decade, the city has seen major renovations and efforts to boost tourism in the legendary metropolis. With numerous restaurants, lounges and bustling plazas ideal for shopping, Kiwis who reserve flights to Athens will have an itinerary jam-packed with adventurous and cultural things to do.
Print this article »