The Panathinaikon Stadium 07-16-2004 10:48

Known also as the 'Kallimarmaron', which means 'beautiful marble', the Panathinaikon Stadium has a long history that dates back to the classical era. Historic records indicate that a stadium existed on the site as early as 329 BC during the time of Lykourgos, pupil of Plato. Records also show that the Greek benefactor Herodus Attikos (139 to 194 AD) improved the stadium with marble upgrades. Philosophers and historians of the time (e.g. Pafsanias, Philostratos) describe it as one of the best stadiums of the period.

During the Middle Ages, it was destroyed and its marble was used for other construction purposes.

In 1896 it was reconstructed for the first Modern Olympic Gamesthanks to the generous donation of George Averoff. In its 48 rows of seats it accommodated 45, 000 spectators. It is considered to be a great achievement in terms of its construction as, even today, the supply, processing and placing of its huge marble stones would have been a great challenge. In addition, the particular construction technique, especially the curved rows of seats that allow spectators to have a better view, is still admired.

In 1906, Propilea, a special entrance with Corinthian-style pillars, was added at the front of the stadium and was later removed (in 1952). In 1997 the Opening Ceremony of the World Track and Field Championships was staged at the Panathinaikon stadium with great success.


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