In the late 4th century BC, the sanctuary of Olympia became an arena for political rivalries between cities once more. Philip II and later Alexander erected their family memorial monument, the Philippeum and attributed great importance to Olympia by offering gifts and dedications.
The largest building of all, the Leonideum, was erected at the southwest edge of
the sanctuary. Dedicated by the architect Leonidas of Naxos, it was dated around
Four Ionian colonnades with 138 columns decorated its exterior. In its interior there was a central Doric peristyle with 44 columns.
During the time of Alexander's successors, the Olympic games started to become an athletic event of major importance. Additional athletic facilities were built, such as the Palaestra, the Gymnasium, and the Greek Baths that met the needs of the numerous athletes who gathered there to compete.
Built in the 3rd century BC, the Palaestra was probably dedicated by a Hellenistic king. It was the area of practice for thousands of boxers, wrestlers and jumpers. Its almost squarish interior was surrounded by colonnades. It contained changing areas, oiling rooms, the arena, baths and halls with benches for the athletes who attended lectures.
The Gymnasium was erected to the north side of the Palaestra in the 2nd century BC. Here again the central open space is surrounded by four long colonnades. Its double colonnade running north-south, 220m long, must have been used for training. Here athletes practiced javelin, discus and running. Its monumental entrance, in the form of an amphiprostyle Corinthian portico, was in the southeast corner.
The Greek baths were built near the Cladeus river in
Finally, a vaulted archway was erected in
Archaic and Geometric | Classical | Roman