Ancient Olympia is a sacred place. Civility, quiet concentration, a smiling plain amidst low peaceful hills, protected from the savage north wind, from the hot south wind, and below, the sea, from which flows the moist maritime air, rising up along the valley of the Alpheios. There is no more inspiring place in Greece that can so sweetly and with such persistence encourage peace and reconciliation. Olympia,the most brilliant, the most revered panhellenic Sanctuary, dedicated to Zeus, father of gods and mankind, is near the western coast of the Peloponnese, in the magic valley of the river Alpheios, in the most beautiful place in Greece according to Lysias. The historical course of the Sanctuary is inextricably bound to the Olympic Games, which were held every four years under the watchful eye of the ruling god, Zeus the Thunderer. Indeed, Olympia owes her uniqueness and her splendour to these Games, which, with their ideals, for more than a thousand years forged generations and generations of Greeks, giving a new dimension to human nature. This archaeological guide is a must for anyone exploring this ancient place.