Ancient Olympia was the most exalted sanctuary of Ancient Greece dedicated to Zeus, father of the Gods and the humans. It was the place, where the Olympic games were held as a part of Olympion, which was the most important religious festival during antiquity. The Olympic Games were held every four years. Written testimonials from antiquity report 776 B.C. to be the year that the Games were instituted. In Ancient Olympia, in the magnificent Temple of Zeus was the gigantic ivory and gold statue of Zeus, sculptured by Pheidias. The statue is one of the Seven Wonders of ancient world.
The Temple of Apollo Epikourios in Vasses Figaleia is one the greatest temples. The ancient writer Pausanias praises the temple as the eclipsing all others but the temple of Athena at Tegea by the beauty of its stone and the harmony of its construction. It was dedicated to Apollo by the residents of Figaleia. Apollo offered his assistance when the epidemic plague occurred. Its construction is placed between 450 B.C. and 400 B.C.. It was designed by Iktinos, the architect of the Parthenon. It is the best preserved ancient temple of the classical antiquity and it was the first in Greece to be listed in Unesco’s World Heritage List in 1986.
The Foloi oak forest is situated at an altitude of 668m., on the plateau of the Foloi mountain. It is an ecosystem unique in the Balkan peninsula and it consists of territory of 9.900 acres (42.000 sq.m.) which is almost entirely covered by deciduous oaks that form a dense forest area. The Foloi oak forest is situated in the drainage areas of the rivers Erymanthos and Peneios. This forest protects the soil, the crops and the monuments from the hostile climate and territorial conditions of the area. The two rivers flow from this area.
The two forests Kapeli and Foloi are a unique ecosystem with rich flora and fauna. The Foloi oak forest has been designated the status of a protected area enlisted in the Natura 2000 ecological network of the E.U.
According to the Greek Mythology, Neda was a Nymph, a water deity. The river from the antiquity forms the border between Elis and Messenia, as Pausanias wrote. Close to the banks of the river was Ancient Figaleia and the Temple of Epikourio Apollo in Vasses. The waters of Neda begin their journey from the numerous springs at the foot of Mt Lycaeon, near the village of Petra. They meet with tributaries and streams from the nearby mountains, they follow an amazing, meandering course through narrow gorges, cool clearing and verdant ravines, they flow under arched, stone bridges and through dark caves and falls, to the fertile meadows of the Kiparissia Gulf covering a distance of 32km. It is unique in sense that it is one of the two rivers in Greece with a feminine name. The other one is Erkina.
Katakolo is a small picturesque fishing village on the west coast of Peloponnese, where many cruise ships anchor to visit Olympia. Until the end of the 19th century this harbor was very important for the export of currants. After the currant trade collapsed, the warehouses were converted into souvenir shops. In the Middle Ages, Katakolo was the site of the fortress of the Pontikokastron which the Frankish ruler of the principality of Achaea called Beauvoir or Belvedere(Great View). The remains of the medieval Pontikokastron\Beauvoir castle still stand on a hilltop northeast of the modern port and tourists can admire the great view of the sea and of the surroundings.
In Katakolo it is also situated the ancient city of Pheia. Ancient Pheia was on the other side of the mountain of Ichthys, now Agios Andreas, within walking distance of Katakolo port.
Before entering the Archaeological museum of Pyrgos, make sure you walk around this beautiful neoclassical building and admire one of Ernst Ziller’s architectural accomplishments. What used to be the city’s marketplace, now houses many impressive findings, from this prefecture, for the first time.
See the boar’s tusk helmet; a similar one (according to Homer) would have been worn by Odysseus. Admire the costume jewellery from the late bronze era (1600-1200 B.C.) These pieces are 3000 year old but they would sit proudly on the style pages of a glossy magazine. Other findings really worthy of seeing are the ancient ‘’safety pns’’ and the ancient baby feeding bottles.
Chlemoutsi castle was the most important medieval castle of the Principality of Achaea. It was built between the 1220s and the 1223s to protect Andravida. Chlemoutsi remains ‘’the most beautiful testimony of the military art in the Frankish principality’’, according to A. Ben. Its location, on a small plateau of 226m (741ft) above sea level near the modern village of Kastro-Kyllini, gives it a commanding view of the surrounding countryside, encompassing the costal plain of Elis and reaching to the Ionian islands of Zakynthos and Cephalonia.
The castle consists of an irregular hexagonal inner fortress, a sort of donjon with a small open courtyard and barrel-vaulted chambers running round the interior, and another expanse of open courtyard adjoining it in the west.