Uses of the Stadium

Everything you need to know before visiting
the Panathenaic Stadium.

The Stadium during the 20th century as a place of sport, culture and socialization

The two international events of the Olympic Games in 1896 and the Mesolympiada in 1906 played a catalytic role in the attendance of the public at the stadium and the massing of sport. The Panathenaic Stadium was for a long time the only official stadium of the capital. Therefore, after the Olympic Games, it hosted all sports events, the most important being the Panhellenic Games from 1901 onwards. After 1923, Greece took over the hosting of international sports events at the Panathenaic Stadium.

The Stadium is not only used for sports competitions. There are also military races, gendarmerie corps races, scout races, inter-university races, school races, equestrian races and finally, motorcycle races. The stadium, apart from its sporting character, also had a cultural character. Theatrical performances, musical events, festivals and melodramas were on the agenda.

After the war, the stadium is still used for sports and cultural events. In 1968, the final basketball match for the European Cup Winners’ Cup between AEK Athens and Slavia Prague was held. A spectacular match with a huge attendance of 80,000 spectators, the largest in a basketball match internationally. From 1968 to 1971 the stadium hosted the International Song Olympics and in 1985 the first international rock festival. 1996 marks the centenary of the revival of the Olympic Games and the reception of the Greek Olympic champions in Atlanta. The following year, in 1997, Greece hosts the World Athletics Championships and the opening and closing ceremonies are held in the stadium in a spectacular manner. Another special moment is the year of the Olympic Games in 2004, which starts with the victory of the National Football Team at the European Football Championship and the special festive reception that took place at the stadium. As part of the Olympic event that followed, the Olympic archery event and the finish of the men’s and women’s marathon race were held at the Stadium.

Timeless values for the athletic and cultural identity of the Stadium remain the finish of the Classic Marathon with great participation of athletes and spectators and the ritual of delivery and receipt of the Olympic Flame in the host country of the Olympic Games. The use of the Stadium in the 20th century, as the context shows, is multilevel. The stratigraphy of uses reveals that the Stadium is a living place that pulsates and contributes to collective identity and memory.