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About Ancient Nemea

Ancient Nemea on the map!

The location of Nemea is marked by the red pin. Source: Google Maps.

The site of Ancient Nemea lies in an upland valley in the modern Greek province of Korinthia and in the eastern foothills of the Arkadian mountains. The valley is about a mile wide, three miles long, and about 330 meters above sea-level.

It is currently occupied by a modern village of about 400 inhabitants, the ancient archaeological site, and many vineyards surrounded by olive groves. The northern end of the valley is dominated by the flat-topped Mt. Apesas where an altar of Zeus was said to have been established by the hero Perseus.

 
 
 
 

the archaeological site of ancient nemea

The most prominent feature of the modern archaeological site at Ancient Nemea is, of course, the Temple of Zeus. Just like other temples at major sanctuary sites in Greece (like the Temple of Zeus at Olympia or the Temple of Apollo at Delphi), the Temple of Zeus at Nemea stood within a large sacred area that consisted of many buildings and features: an altar of Zeus, a sacred grove of cypress trees, nine pavilions (oikoi), several kilns, a hotel (xenon), a bath house, houses, and a “hero shrine.” A little further outside of the central sanctuary area was the athletic stadium.


Today visitors can enjoy the temple and its surrounding buildings situated in a picturesque landscape, the on-site archaeological museum, and the ancient stadium. Between the village of Ancient Nemea and the larger town of (new) Nemea lie several award-winning wineries, too!

THE MYTH

The site of Ancient Nemea is rich in history and appears in several important episodes from Greek mythology. The colorful cast of characters includes the heroes Opheltes and Herakles! Read more about them here.

THE TEMPLE

The Temple of Zeus that we see on site today dates to the fourth century B.C. (around 330 B.C.). Some of it has been reconstructed in recent times. Read more about the temple here.

the stadium

Nemea comprised one of four sites in ancient Greece that celebrated athletic and religious festivals on a four-year cycle. Several athletic competitions were held in the stadium! Read more about it here.