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Why were the buildings in the sanctuary at the Olympics so important?

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Introduction

Why were the buildings in the sanctuary at the Olympics so important? The sanctuary, known as the Altis, consists of an unordered arrangement of several buildings. The Temple of Hera (or Heraion/Heraeum) and the Temple of Zeus, the Pelopion and the area of the altar, where the sacrifices were made, all are enclosed within the temenos. To the east were the hippodrome and later stadium. The Prytaneion and the Philippeion, as well as the array of treasuries representing the various city states, were to the north of the sanctuary. South of the treasuries is The Metroon, with the Echo Stoa to the East. South of the sanctuary is the South Stoa and the Bouleuterion. The west side lays the Palaestra, the workshop of Pheidias, the workshop of Pheidias, the Gymnasion and the Leonidaion. The massive temple of Zeus is considered the most important building in the Altis, standing in its very centre, is the largest temple in the Peloponnese. It was built by the Eleans from the plunder of the Triphylian war and devoted to Zeus. ...read more.

Middle

The stadium of Olympia, situated east of the sacred Altis enclosure, was where the ancient Olympic Games and the Heraia, the women's games in honor of Hera, were held. It was built in the Classical period, the time in which the temple of Zeus was constructed. It didn't have any seating and spectators would watch from embankments, and the track was very wide. Before the sixth century BC the running events were held on a flat area along the treasuries' terrace, east of the great altar of Zeus. The Olympic Games were very important to the Ancient Greeks, as they were used for military training, and had many religious links. The bouleuterion, or Council House, is one of the most ancient and important buildings of the sanctuary of Olympia. This is as it was the seat both of the Elean Senate, whose members were accountable for the organisation of the games, and possibly of the hellanodikai, or umpires. This is where the athletes registered, along with where their names and the program of events were announced. ...read more.

Conclusion

It was the seat of the magistrates, the high officials who oversaw the sacrifices performed monthly to honour the gods. The room held the Olympic eternal flame, an extremely important symbol for the Olympic games. The ancient gymnasium was adjacent to the palaestra, which extends the gymnasium complex towards the south. It functioned as a training facility for competitors in public games, it was also however a place for socialising and engaging in intellectual pursuits. Plato, an ancient Greek philosopher, considered gymnastics to be an important part of education; this belief was common throughout Ancient Greeks, which made the gymnasium an important part of Olympia. The buildings in the sanctuary were important to the Ancient Greeks for a variety of reasons; however religion is a major factor, as it was a huge part of their culture. The older buildings in the sanctuary tend to also have high level of importance, which shows they saw historical buildings as important. Buildings that were related to the Olympic Games tended to also be important, as the games were loved, and enjoyed by the majority of Ancient Greeks. ...read more.

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