The Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro) in Athens: The imposing and impressive open stadium at the end of Herodes Atticus Street is known as the Roman Stadium, the Panathenaic Stadium, or just Kallimarmaro (which means made of fine marble).
Several visitors admire it every day, as it is a landmark of Athens with major historical and cultural significance since antiquity.
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The stadium was originally constructed in ancient times to host the famous Panathenaic Games, held to honor goddess Athena, the protector of the city. It was erected on the site of another ancient Greek stadium, after the orator Lycurgus was made in charge of the financial regulation of Athens in 338 BC, and was used for the Panathenaic Games for the first time in 330/329 BC.
When the Romans took over Athens, the city lost its political power. However, the reign of Hadrian (117 AD-138 AD) came with cultural flourishing; Herodes Atticus, a rich sophist of that time, offered large amounts of money for the construction of exceptional structures.
Herodes' funding transformed the Panathenaic Stadium for the better. The most important has to be the covering of the theatron (the area where the spectators sat) with marble seats.
In addition, statues made of gold, bronze and marble were added for the stadium's decoration, while a temple of the goddess Tyche (Fortune) and an ivory statue dedicated to her were situated at the top of the hill that hosts Kallimarmaro.
After the prohibition of pagan events induced by the prevalence of Christianity, the stadium was abandoned and its grandeur disappeared.
Many years passed until Kallimarmaro hosted the sports games that took place in the framework of a Greek products exhibition in 1870 and 1875. These were the first attempts for the revival of the Olympic Games and were held thanks to Pierre de Coubertin, a philhellene French baron who was the organizer of the International Sports Congress in 1984. Dimitrios Vikelas, the proxy of the Gymnastics Club of Greece at the time, succeeded in convincing the Congress to hold the first International Olympic Games in Athens.
It was then that the Panathenaic Stadium would regain the splendor it had in antiquity. In 1895, with the prospect that the stadium would host the Olympic Games in the next year, the reconstruction of the stadium started, following the plans of the Greek architect Anastasios Metaxas and the German architect Ernst Ziller.
The monument was reconstructed thanks to the financial assistance of the Greek benefactor Georgios Averoff, whose statue was built by the sculptor Georgios Vroutos and adorns the entrance of the stadium to this day.
The first International Olympic Games lasted from March 25th to April 3r, 1896. The Olympic Anthem, written by one of the most eminent Greek ports, Kostis Palamas, was played for the first time during the event.
In 2004, Athens hosted the institution again and the stadium welcomed a large number of spectators and athletes to its facilities for one more time.
Nowadays, Kallimarmaro hosts a plethora of events, including sports events, concerts and theatrical plays.
There are many ways to reach the Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro) from any location in Athens.
Tours: Discover the Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro) with an organized tour.
Private transfers: We recommend using an online pre-booked transfer service, which provides transfer by taxi, minibus, or private VIP car and arranging a pickup directly from the port, airport, or your hotel. Alternatively, there’s the option of arranging a pickup by a local driver directly at the following numbers: (0030) 18288, (0030) 18222, (0030) 18180. You can also book your taxi online.
On foot: As the Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro) is located in a central area of Athens, it can be easily reached on foot from Syntagma Square, in approximately 15 minutes.
By metro: The closest metro station is Akropoli (Red Line). Note that in order to reach the Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro) from the metro, a 15-minute walk is needed. Get a map of the metro here.
By bus/trolleybus: Since the Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro) is located in one of the most central regions in Athens, there are many bus stops nearby. Check the routes and the official timetables on OASA Telematics.
By tram: The closest tram stop is Zappeio (Route 6, Syntagma-Pikrodafni). Get a map of the tram here.