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Panathinaikos Stadium opened its doors for visitors

16 April 2010 / 11:04:46  GRReporter
4726 reads

Emanuela Karastoyanova

"Today is more than just an ordinary day - it is the fulfillment of my dreams and the dreams of the Hellenic Olympic Committee." With these words Spiros Kapralas - President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee commented at a press conference the start of a new beginning in the history of Panathinaikos Stadium – its opening for Greeks and tourists from around the world."Today we turned back centuries in the past and opened the ball of the history of Panathinaikos stadium, which is inextricably linked with the history of Athens" - told reporters Kapralas. 

The official opening ceremony of the Panathinaikos stadium was attended also by GRReporter. 

Speaking to reporters Mr. Kapralas could not hide his joy and enormous satisfaction from all the achievements. As he said the opening of Kalimarmaro to visitors was one of the main objectives that he had set for himself since the beginning of his mandate (February 2009). With this step, he seeks to revive the tradition and culture of ancient Athens and to give life to one of its greatest symbols - Panathinaikos Olympic Stadium. The stadium is not only a symbol of culture and sports in ancient Greece, but also of the values associated with them. Namely it is the cradle of the Olympic Games and the idea of sport. 

Mr. Kapralas did not hesitate to tell about his personal attitude to the fate of Kalimarmaro. He shared about his sense of intolerance that has accompanied him for years, because of Greek and foreign tourists trying to feel the real spirit of history and to seal it in their lenses...leaning over the fence, away from the stadium. This intolerance has become the main engine in a difficult struggle for the opening of the cultural monument for visitors. 

To make the site accessible to visitors organizers have made and continue to carry out numerous reforms. The mini-bar at the entrance of the stadium, which during the Olympic Games in 2004 was closed, is now open. Among the short term plans of the Olympic Committee is opening a souvenir shop. The most important feature, however, is the opening of the Museum of Olympic Games of 1896. 

The touching return to the history of the Greek people is now a reality. From today Kalimarmaro is open for visitors. Entrance for regular visitor is €3, for university students €1.50, and for students entrance is free. Visitors will receive audio guides with information about the cultural monument in 9 languages - English, Greek, French, German, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Chinese and Japanese. From the audio guide they can learn about the 12 most characteristic places in the stadium, the history, architecture and the role it had played in important moments in sports and cultural life of Greece. Audio-guides provide information on the exclusive role of the Olympic Games, with which Panathinaikos stadium is closely related. The first modern Olympic Games were held here in 1896 and during the 2004 Olympic Games, here is the ending point of the marathon. 

Today Panathinaikos stadium is located in the heart of Athens. For centuries, athletes have been competing here. The monument dates back to 4BCE during the time under the rule of Lycurgus when an order was released to build this stadium. The place where the stadium is right now was evaluated back then to be perfect. So, Panathinaikos stadium was first used in 330/329BCE for athletics competitions (formerly competitions were held south of Athens). 

The conduct of modern Olympics Games was the idea of the French Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the organizer of the International Sports Congress in Paris in 1894. Panathinaikos stadium was renovated and marbles from Mount Pendel in Athens, were used for the construction. Its outlook and architecture fully resemble the nature of the stadium from 2BCE. 

In 1896 this stadium hosts the first modern Olympic Games. Winner of the Marathon - one of the most popular ancient disciplines - becomes the Greek athlete Spyros Louis. 

 Today Panathinaikos stadium holds over 68 thousand people. 


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Tags: Panathinakos stadium Athens Olympic Games
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