Athens is the largest city and capital of Greece. It has also had a long history in the Greek civilisation since 4,000 years ago. Despite going through numerous wars in both ancient and modern times, important key structures in Athens remain standing strong and have been restored over time.
The Acropolis is probably the most iconic structure in Athens but there is another structure that is worth a visit too. In 1896, Athens hosted the first modern Olympic Games, which was held in no other than Panathinaiko Stadium, also known as the Panathenaic Stadium.
Explore the stadium with the audio tour
Panathinaiko Stadium is ideally located in downtown Athens. However, there is no nearby metro station. The nearest would be the Syntagma, Acropolis or Evangelismos metro stations, which are around a 15-minutes walk from the stadium. If you are lucky, you will be able to admire the blooming fruits on the orange trees along the stroll towards the stadium.
The stadium is open daily from 8 am. In peak seasons, from March to October, it closes at 7 pm, while in the remaining months it closes at 5 pm. To avoid the afternoon sun, you may want to visit the stadium in the morning or late afternoon because most parts of it are unsheltered.
Admission is 5 EUR (5.65 USD) per person and free for children below the age of 6. The admission fee includes an audio guide tour in different languages. Languages include English; Chinese; French; German; Spanish; Italian; Japanese; Russian; Portuguese; and, of course, Greek. At the entrance, the staff will ask you for your prefered language and set it on the audio device for you before you start the tour.
Looking back at the history
Do you know which countries hosted the various Olympic Games? If you do not, these stone pillars along the tracks have each of these countries engraved on them, along with the year that they hosted the games.
For sports-enthusiasts, do go ahead and run on the track. This would be the day where you can feel like an Olympic participant! Children seem to have the most fun on the tracks, chasing one another happily.
Walk through the tunnel of fame
The audio tour will take approximately 30 minutes but you can pause it and enjoy the surrounding steps and tracks in the stadium. Listen to the audio carefully and follow the number tags. At each number tag, they will explain the significance of that particular spot. For instance, spot the stone chairs that the king and queen used to sit in during a game.
During the tour of the stadium, you also get to walk through the tunnel that participants in the Olympic Games once went through before the start of their games.
Be amazed by the different Olympic posters
Following the audio tour and walk through the tunnel, you will be welcomed to a hall with a collection of old posters. Each poster has graphics of where the Olympic Games was held with the year. Photography is allowed in every part of the stadium so do capture these amazing posters that date back to 1896!
Snap a shot on the champion stand
Perhaps running on the track is not enough? Feel like a champion too! 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place? You can take your pick and snap a picture with the magnificent stadium as the background. During peak seasons, the queue to stand at this spot will be long. Everyone wants to feel and look like a champion!
The proud marching soldiers
On your way towards the stadium or returning back to the downtown, you may be lucky to spot the shift-changing soldiers. When these well-dressed uniformed soldiers change shift with one another, they march proudly with their legs high up. To many tourists, this is quite a spectacular sight!
An iconic landmark in Greece
Panathinaiko Stadium is not only an iconic landmark in Athens city, but in Greece itself, where all Greeks are proud about the first stadium to host the modern Olympic Games.
Take the audio tour and understand the origins of our modern Olympic Games. Even today, the spirit of the Olympics is forever there. And, do look forward to the next Olympic Games that will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016.
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