Located to the north-west of the Peloponnese is the prefecture of Ilia (Elias). It is a beautiful region, and again, holds great historic importance.
The capital of Ilias is Pyrgos. The name of the town was derived from the presence of a tall tower, (a pirgos), which was erected during the early 1500s. The town has been known by this name from as early as the late 1600s.
The birthplace of the Olympic Games, Olympia is located to the south of Ilia. It was here that the first Olympic Games took place, and have since gone on to become the largest and most spectacular sporting event in the whole world. Ancient Olympia is situated approximately 10km to the east of Prygos.
The archaeological site of Olympia is one that every visitor to this area must visit. There are many buildings still remaining, such as the Prytaneion, where the winners of the Games were honored, the Philippeion, the Heraion, and other buildings and temples.
Visitors to this site, can experience, first hand, how the games would have been all those years ago. With the natural beauty that surrounds this site, it is easy to understand, how the Greeks, and ultimately, the rest of the world, came to respect, admire and enjoy the Olympic Games as much as the ancient Greeks did.
Opposite the site is the Archaeological Museum, where on display, are many finds and artifacts that were excavated in this area, such as the marble statue of Hermes (dating 330BC), Miltiades' helmet, and various sculptures and other works of art.
The modern village of Olympia is located very near to the ancient site. Here, you will find the Museum of the Olympic Games, which the only one of it's kind in the world. Full of memorabilia such as postage stamps, photographs and other artifacts, it is an amazing insight into the history of the Olympic Games.
There are also many spas in Ilia, such as the popular hot springs of Kilini. This spa has been developed by the GNTO (Greek National Tourist Organisation), and is a well organised spa, with accommodation facilities. At a temperature of 25.5 degrees centigrade, the hot waters are ideal for asthma, skin diseases and rheumatism.
With the various buildings and facilities spread out among the backdrop of eucalyptus and pine trees, this is a truly stunning area, where you will find peace and tranquility. This place is popular with both the young and old, and bubbles with happy and friendly faces of people, all enjoying the natural relaxation that can be found here.
Ilia is a very picturesque and beautiful region, with nature and fields as far as the eye can see. Vines, olive and citrus groves and vegetation can be found on very corner. With the various sandy beaches here as well, Ilias is a mini-paradise, and a wonderful choice for your holiday destination in the Peloponnese.