The Panathenaic Stadium is a classical cultural and touristic monument of Greece. Its history is directly connected to the Modern Olympic Games, from their revival in 1896 until the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. It is also the place from which the Olympic Flame is delivered to all the Olympic Games, Winter, Summer and Youth.
Athens’ Panathenaic Stadium or Panathinaiko, is also known as the Kallimarmaro (Καλλιμάρμαρο), which means “beautifully marbled” and is the world’s only stadium made entirely of marble which coomes from nearby Mount Pendeli. It was built in 1896 for the first modern Olympics in the ruins of the ancient marble stadium that was built in 329 for the Panathenaic Games, by Lycurgus, replacing an even older stadium made of wood. In 140 AD it was enlarged and renovated by Herodes Atticus and it seated 50,000 people as it does today. (During the 1896 Olympics it held 80,000 people!)
The Stadium is the finishing point for the contemporary Marathon race which was held each October. This is a modern reenactment (first held during the inaugural modern Olympic Games, staged in Athens in 1896) of the run of the Athenian hoplite (heavily armed soldier) Pheidippides who, in 490 BC, sped from the battlefield at Marathon in northeastern Attica, where the Athenians and their allies the Plataians had just defeated the superior forces of the Persian King Darius to announce to his fellow citizens that the victory was theirs.