UNESCO-listed since 1989, Olympia is one of Greece’s most important archaeological sites, with its Temple of Zeus, Temple of Hera (Heraion), palaestra and gymnasium. It was already a centre of worship to Olympian Zeus in the 11th century BC and became the venue of the Olympic Games in the 8th century BC, with the sacred truce providing the participants safe passage to the games. The so-called “treasuries”, erected to house the votive offerings of the various city-states, attest to the prestige that Olympia enjoyed throughout the Greek world, from Sicily and Magna Graecia to Northern Africa and ancient Byzantium. Participation in the Games was at first reserved only to Greeks, but in the Roman era was opened up to all the nations of the empire, turning the Olympics into a truly international event. With the modern revival of the Games in 1896, Olympia has become a universal symbol of fair play, sportsmanship and peaceful co-existence.
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