Palaestra at Olympia

Ancient edifice in Olympia, Greece

The palaestra at Olympia, Greece is an ancient structure, now in ruins. There were many palaestra throughout Greece. A palaestra was the place where Greek athletes trained for and practiced wrestling, the pankration, and sometimes boxing. The palaestra at Olympia was built sometime in the third century BC.


It is north of the gymnasion. It is square. Its sides are each about 66 meters long. Its door is in the northwest corner. The lower part of the outer walls were made of stone and the upper part of brick. Inside was a sand-covered yard open to the sky. This yard was surrounded on all four sides with colonnades of Doric columns. In bad weather, the athletes practiced under these colonnades.

Off these colonnades were rooms where the athletes dressed and undressed, rubbed themselves with olive oil, dusted themselves with powder or sand, and met friends. There was a tub (1.5 meters deep) in the corner of the yard that was used for cold baths. There were rooms for the storage of oil and equipment.

In 1955–56, the German Archaeological Institute partly restored the palaestra. Complete restoration is not possible because many of the columns have been completely destroyed.

Palaestra change

References change

  • Photinos, Sypros (1982), Olympia, Olympic Publications, Athens, Greece: Pan. & Theo. Agridiotis, pp. 27–28