Ancient Olympia was the birthplace of the Olympic Games in classical times. The games were held every four years and date back possibly further than 776 BC. The archaeological site of Ancient Olympia had been buried under river silt until it was re-discovered in 1766. German archaeologist Ernst Curtius started the excavations in 1829 when a great number of treasures were unearthed including the exquisite statue of Hermes that was placed in the Temple of Hera. Start your visit from the Olympic Games Museum, where you can learn about the history of the Games. Among the many astonishing exhibits of the new Museum, are the statue of Hermes sculptured by Praxiteles and the “Nike” of Paionios, as well as many beautiful bronze ornaments and items from the temples. A walkway leads from the Museum to the archaeological site. The stadium of Ancient Olympia, had a capacity of about 20,000 spectators. It was a holy place for the ancient Greeks as the sport activities were dedicated to Zeus & Hera. During the Athens Olympics in 2004, the men’s and women’s shot put was held at the stadium.The Olympic flame of the modern-day Olympic Games is lit by reflection of sunlight in a mirror in front of the Temple of Hera and then transported stadium of the host city.