| To the far east of the Echo Colonnade is the Stadium. The
track is 192.25 meters long, or 600 feet as measured by Hercules himself.
The starting line was on the east side, the finishing on the west.
In the race called the Diaulos, the athletes would run to the finish
and back to the start. In the Dolichos, this distance was run twelve
times! Artificial banks on the side of the stadium had no seats, but
could hold 35,000 to 40,000 spectators. All around the track is a
duct with basins, dating to the 2nd century AD, which supplied the
spectators with water. Before their installation, many deaths were
attributed to heat-stroke, among them the famous philosopher Thales.
A platform on the southern bank was reserved for officials and umpires.
An altar to Demeter was placed on the northern bank, where the priestess
of Demeter, the only woman ever allowed to view the games, was permitted
to sit. The present stadium dates from the 4th century BC, with alterations.
Two earlier version of the stadium existed, both to the west. Expansion
of the sanctuary and space required for the growing throng of dedications
prompted each move.
The Hippodrome once lay to the south of the Stadium, but has
now been washed away by the Alpheios river. The renowned horse and
chariot races were once held here.
|Starting Lines and Entrance to Stadium
||Site of the Old Stadium