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The exquisite place

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The unparalleled natural beauty of the landscape of Olympia was worthy of the god Zeus: the Altis, the Sacred Grove- densely vegetated with wild olives, plane trees, elms, and oak- was formed during the 10th– 9th centuries BC to host the worship of father of gods and men.

The south-west foothills of the verdant Kronios Hill, at the Alpheius and Kladeos rivers, was destined to be the birthplace of the most powerful institution for peace, fair play, and the uplifting of body and mind: the Olympic Games. Diodoros Siculus mentions that Hercules chose this particular spot precisely for its beauty: selecting for such a great festival the most beautiful of laces, which was the plain lying along the banks of Alpheus river.

Earthquakes and the flooding of the Apheios and Kladeos rivers frequently cause damage to Olympia. It has been estimated that the ground below the Temple of Zeus subsides up to 1.6mm a year, and, according to calculations made by satellite, in a thousand years, ancient Olympia may have sunk by one meter and more.

Extremely high temperatures, drought, and strong winds are some of the causes behind the devastating wildfires that broke out in the Peloponnese in the summer of 2007. In Olympia, the Kronios Hill was completely burned, and the monuments as well as the museum were in danger.

Significant anti- erosion and anti-flooding protection projects, re-forestation, and the restoration of the vegetation, as well as fire management, aim to protect Olympia for the future.

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