Located in downtown Athens, the Panathinaiko or Panathenaic Stadium (Greek: Παναθηναϊκό στάδιο), also known as The Kallimarmaro (Καλλιμάρμαρο, that is, the “beautifully marbled”) in Athens, Greece, is the only major stadium in the world built entirely of white marble (from Mount Penteli).
In ancient times it was used to host the athletic portion of the Panathenaic Games in honour of the Goddess Athena. During classical times the stadium had wooden seating. It was remade in marble by the Archon Lycurgus in 329 BC and was enlarged and renovated by Herodes Atticus in 140 AD, to a seated capacity of 50,000.
The remnants of the ancient structure were excavated and refurbished, with funds provided by Evangelis Zappas for the revival of the Olympic Games. Evangelis Zappas sponsored the Zappas Olympics, that were held there in 1870 and 1875. The stadium was refurbished a second time in 1895 for the 1896 Olympics.
The stadium was built long before dimensions for athletics venues were standardized and its track and layout follow the ancient hairpin-like model. It could seat about 80,000 spectators on 50 rows of marble steps and currently holds 45,000 spectators.
In more recent years this stadium has been often used to honour the homecoming of victorious Greek athletes, most notably the Greek national football team after its victory at the 2004 European Football Championship and also the opening ceremony of the World Athletics Championships in 1997, on a concept by composer Vangelis Papathanasiou.
In the 2004 Olympic Games, the Panathinaiko Stadium hosted the archery competition, and the finish of the Marathon.
Information from Wikipedia.
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