Argolis Olympia & Delphi
Argolis or the Argolid is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Peloponnese, situated in the eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula and part of the tripoint area of Argolis, Arcadia and Corinthia. Much of the territory of this region is situation in the Argolid Peninsula.
Most arable land lies in the central part of Argolis. Its primary agricultural resources are oranges and olives. Argolis has a coastline on the Saronic Gulf in the northeast and on the Argolic Gulf in the south and southeast. Notable mountains ranges are the Oligyrtos in the northwest, Lyrkeio and Ktenia in the west, and Arachnaio and Didymo in the east.
Argolis has land borders with Arcadia to the west and southwest, Corinthia to the north, and the Islands regional unit (Troezen area) to the east. Ancient Argolis included Troezen.
From 1833 to 1899, Argolis was part of Argolidocorinthia, which included present Corinthia, Hydra, Spetses and Kythira. It joined Corinthia to form Argolidocorinthia again in 1909. Forty years later, in 1949, Argolis was finally separated from Corinthia.
Olympia , a sanctuary of ancient Greece in Elis on the Peloponnese peninsula, is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times.
The Olympic Games were held every four years throughout Classical Antiquity, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. The first Olympic Games were in honor of Zeus.
The sanctuary, known as the Altis, consists of an unordered arrangement of various buildings. Enclosed within the temenos (sacred enclosure) are the Temple of Hera(or Heraion/Heraeum), the Temple of Zeus, the Pelopion, and the area of the altar, where the sacrifices were made.
To the north of the sanctuary can be found the Prytaneion and the Philippeion, as well as the array of treasuries representing the various city-states. The Metroon lies to the south of these treasuries, with the Echo Stoa to the east. The hippodrome and later stadium were located east of the Echo Stoa. To the south of the sanctuary is the South Stoa and the Bouleuterion, whereas the Palaestra, the workshop of Pheidias, the Gymnasion, and the Leonidaion lie to the west.
Olympia was also known for the gigantic ivory and gold statue of Zeus that used to stand there, sculpted by Pheidias, which was named one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World by Antipater of Sidon. Very close to the Temple of Zeus which housed this statue, the studio of Pheidias was excavated in the 1950s. Evidence found there, such as sculptor’s tools, corroborates this opinion. The ancient ruins sit north of the Alfeios River and south of Mount Kronos (named after the Greek deityKronos). The Kladeos, a tributary of the Alfeios, flows around the area.
Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis. In myths dating to the classical period of Ancient Greece (510-323 BC), the site of Delphi was believed to be determined by Zeus when he sought to find the centre of his “Grandmother Earth” (Ge, Gaea, or Gaia). He sent two eagles flying from the eastern and western extremities, and the path of the eagles crossed over Delphi where the omphalos, or navel of Gaia was found.
Earlier myths include traditions that Pythia, or the Delphic oracle, already was the site of an important oracle in the pre-classical Greek world (as early as 1400 BC) and, rededicated from about 800 BCE, when it served as the major site during classical times for the worship of the god Apollo. Apollo was said to have slain Python, “a dragon” who lived there and protected the navel of the Earth. “Python” (derived from the verb πύθω (pythō), “to rot”) is claimed by some to be the original name of the site in recognition of Python which Apollo defeated. The Homeric Hymn to Delphic Apollo recalled that the ancient name of this site had been Krisa. Others relate that it was named Pytho and that Pythia, the priestess serving as the oracle, was chosen from their ranks by a group of priestesses who officiated at the temple.
Apollo’s sacred precinct in Delphi was a panhellenic sanctuary, where every four years, starting in 586 BC  athletes from all over the Greek world competed in the Pythian Games, one of the four panhellenic (or stephanitic) games, precursors of the Modern Olympics. The victors at Delphi were presented with a laurel crown (stephanos) which was ceremonially cut from a tree by a boy who re-enacted the slaying of the Python. Delphi was set apart from the other games sites because it hosted the mousikos agon, musical competitions.
These Pythian Games rank second among the four stephanitic games chronologically and based on importance. These games, though, were different from the games at Olympia in that they were not of such vast importance to the city of Delphi as the games at Olympia were to the area surrounding Olympia. Delphi would have been a renowned city whether or not it hosted these games; it had other attractions that led to it being labeled the “omphalos” (navel) of the earth, in other words, the center of the world.
In the inner hestia (“hearth”) of the Temple of Apollo, an eternal flame burned. After the battle of Plataea, the Greek cities extinguished their fires and brought new fire from the hearth of Greece, at Delphi; in thefoundation stories of several Greek colonies, the founding colonists were first dedicated at Delphi.