A small though very interesting archaeological site where part of the Temple of Zeus stands, a temple that was constructed using three orders of achritecture. The archaeological museum (in the site) is certainly worth a visit. It is small but with very interesting exhibits. The biggest part of the area findings are exposed there.The Stadium, where the Nemean Games where taking place, and its well-preserved tunnel entrance is located on the other side of the main road.
Nemea has a special, haunting quality that I had not expected. I planned a visit here for my Classical Civilisation students because Olympia and Elis were simply too far from our Athens base but it really did not feel like second best. WIth a bit of imagination and knowledge, you can see the layout of the games' site very clearly. The tunnel through which the athletes entered the stadium has been beautifully restored and the kids loved running through it whooping as they went (we had the site to ourselves!). We examined the starting sill, raced up and down the track and checked the sightlines that spectators would have had watching from the banks. I have moaned about/offered helpful criticism to the staff of a couple of attractions we visited on our Classical tour but to the lovely Christine at Nemea, I would merely say keep on doing what you are doing. We arrived here saddened by the rudeness of the officials at Epidauros and the boys were very nervous about doing anything. Christine reassured them that it was fine to run round the track and try the echo in the tunnel. She also produced some anti-histamine cream for my son who had been stung by a wasp. The other part of the site is where the bathhouse, the Temple and the training ground would have been.The signs are helpful and the small museum is interesting. This and Thorikos were the highlights of the trip!
Ancient Nemea is the site of one of "Hercules' Labours". So far in its excavation there has been uncovered a bath complex (in which you can clearly see the original pipework!!), a stadium and a temple. One of the most interesting aspects of this well-tended and charming site has been the reconstruction of several of the temple columns and thus this site is not only VERY comprehensible, it is now interestingly "atmospheric" also. There is also a small, but informative, museum on site as well. Another plus is that the site does not appear to be much visited and so one is not jostled by hoardes of tourists and can wander around the fascinating ruins absorbing the atmosphere of an anciently important site.Ancient Nemea is DEFINITELY worth a visit.
The site at Nemea, half an hour's drive or so away from Mikenes, is mercifully empty of the tour buses that plague the car park at the more famous site. In fact there is only one other small group of tourists as we arrive, and they're in the process of leaving. It's a pretty little place (sadly the small museum which was promised as excellent is closed), split over two locations. The main area contains scattered remains of baths, with sinks and terracotta plumbing perfectly visible. There also stand five or six columns of a temple, which you can scramble around, touching stone hewn more than 2000 years ago. These columns are the result of some remarkable restoration work involving the University of California and Greek counterparts, putting the columns back together, using the pieces that are lying scattered about. Some may question the purpose of all of the effort, but there's an undeniable interest and intrigue in wanting to see more of those immense columns going up.Part two of the Nemean visit is perhaps the more interesting, taking in an ancient stadium that formed part of the Panhellenic Games (the most famous being the revived Olympic Games, which for the ancient Greeks was only one of four major sporting events). The track is there, the sun reflecting off the white earth, making it seem impossible that any athletic endeavour could be undertaken (I resisted the temptation to strip naked, as the Greeks were, and test the assumption), the sloped sides only having ever contained a few stone seats, though around 15,000 spectators would be held in the thrall of those performing. There's an atmosphere here, the spirits of the competitors living in the dust, with some pleasure taken from knowing you're stood on the very space where two millenia ago cheers and adulation cried out.There are remains of the water tracks that ran around the outside; and of the starting gate, the holes in the stone for the roped poles now used again in recreated games (now fully clothed, and including female competitors). The best aspect, however, is the discovered and excavated tunnel that runs from the once grand warm-up, de-robing and oiling room, into the stadium itself. Now fully dug-out (again by members of the University of California) you can enter the stadium in the same way as the athletes before you. It's a truly superb feeling.
Olympia was not the only athletics venue in ancient Greece. A fine example of this, is ancient Nemea and its archaeological site. Thanks to recent restoration work funded by institutions based in the USA, we can now admire part of the ancient temple of Zeus.Make sure you pay a visit while traveling to Nemea proper, the famous wine producing region of Northern Peloponnese with its Agiorgitiko variety, an ancient Greek grape variety.
The places to visit there are basically three: the Museum, an uncommonly presented museum giving you the feeling to participate in the excavations and covering "themes" rather than findings -a dark side: the illegible faded indications of the "Aidonia Treasure", a highlight of the Museum- the open place around the Museum with the Zeus Temple where every two years columns are restored and the stadium.It is visible that all these places start to be left in their destiny after, until some years ago, a zenith of quality, efforts etc. To note: the responsibility on it lies with the American School of Archeology and not the Greek Archeological Service...In short: a fantastic place starting to be deteriorated...
Nemea was the site of ancient athletic competitions that gathered sportsmen from all over Peloponnese and beyond.There is an athletic stadium and the remains of an adjacent temple.A small museum displays local archeological findings.
The archaeological museum contains many interesting artifacts from Greek, Roman and early Christian times. If you find yourself there try the famous local wine!
Having visited the large sites at Epidavros and nearby Mycenae we had no high expectations of lesser known Nemea but we found it very evocative. The temple to Zeus and is interesting but only partly excavated but do go into the museum. There are lots of artifacts of course but we found the little video on the starting mechanism for the races absolutely fascinating. It was then quite wonderful to enter the stadium through the tunnel and put ones toes on the original blocks used by the athletes over 2000years ago. The site is beautiful with flowers everywhere and we had the place to ourselves so you could run up and down without feeling a fool.
We decided to have a quick look at the ruins on our way back to Athens and were pleasantly surprised by the variety of the ruins at 2 separate but nearby locations. Plus the setting is quite pleasant with low hills in the surrounding area.We were probably most impressed by the museum which was more extensive than we would have expected for a archaeological site of this size. This was probably due to the fact that it was funded by a major US university. Also had a tasty and reasonably priced meal at the small restaurant situated between the sites.