Hippodrome

P027The hippodrome was the race track for the horse races. With a length of four stadia or 780 m, it was the largest sport area at Olympia. For a long time, archeologists have not been able to trace it. Recent research with geo-radar and geo-magnetism, however, has located the hippodrome in the area between the stadion and the valley of the Alpheios river.

A Greek hippodrome was not a complicated construction. For a simple race track, a large flat terrain, with at the start and finish a column as a turning point for the chariots, suffices. As in the stadion, the spectators of the Olympic horse races stood on slopes along the track, a natural hill to the north, an artificial earthen slope to the south and west. At the start, a complicated starting mechanism made sure all the horses started at the same time.

© KU Leuven, 2012