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Panathenaic Stadium | Yanni Athens Taxi Tours

Originally was a natural hollow part of the ground between the two hills of Agra and Ardettos, over Ilissos river. Transformed into a huge marble structure stadium which represents probably one of the major public works projects by Lykourgos in 330-329 BC for the athletic competitions of the Great Panathinaea Festivities. Between 140 and 144 AD, the Athenian sophist and magnate Herodes Atticus restored the Stadium, giving it the form that was found at the 1870 excavation: the horseshoe construction with a track 204,07 meters long and 33,35 meters wide. It is believed that the Stadium had a seating capacity of 50.000 people. Separating scales were built between the tiers and on the base of the sphendone there was a portico with Doric-style columns; another portico was placed in the stadium’s facade. Herodes possibly restored also the Ilissos river bridge on the Stadium’s entrance, making it larger and adding three archways on its base. The bridge was standing there up to 1778 and a part of it was excavated in 1958. At the Roman times, the Stadium was used as an arena, with the addition of a semi-circular wall on the north that was corresponding to the sphendone of the southern side.

The well known architect Ernst Ziller excavated the site in 1869, and in 1894 architect Anastassios Metaxas backed up by benefactor Georgios Averoff drew up plans for its marble modernization (time of when Athens undertook the revival of the Olympic Games). Four rows of marble seating were completed by the time the first modern Olympics took place in 1896, as were five bridges that extended across the river that once ran in front of the stadium on what is today Vassileos Konstantinou Avenue. Construction was completed in its present format in 1906 and consists of 47 rows of seats and 60, 000 seating capacity.  The classical  Marathon terminates here every year, and the official distance of the route from the ancient bridge at Marathon to the Stadium is 42.2 km (26.2 miles), which was codified for the 1924 Olympic Games held in Paris.

In 1894 a conference organized in Paris by Baron Pierre de Coubertin established the International Olympic Committee and decided to revive the Olympic Games. Following a proposal from the Greek representative, Demetrios Vikelas, Athens was decided to host the First Modern Olympic Games.

The Panathenaic Stadium hosted the archery competition during the Olympic Games of 2004, and in October 2011 the special Olympics.