Jan 27, 2016

The Olympic Stadium of Athens "Spiros Louis"

Situated on the reputable and rapidly rising suburb of Maroussi, just minutes away from the historical center of Athens, Civitel Olympic comprises a unique starting point for exploring not only the classical parts of the capital, but also many great alternatives that will be the spice of your visit in Greece. Among the numerous and various monuments, sightseeings and destinations within Athens, there is one that is only 15 minutes on foot from our hotel, and 5 minutes by car, and constitutes a great source of entertainment, culture, art and history; the Olympic Stadium of Athens - “Spiros Louis”.

The Stadium was named after the Greek marathon runner Spiros Louis, who was the winner at the respective sport at the first modern Olympics in 1896, host in Athens. It was built in 1980 but the inauguration took place two years later, in 1982. The Olympic Stadium comprises the National Stadium of Greece, retaining the biggest capacity in seated people in the country (69618 people). 

When the Greek candidacy won and brought the Olympic Games back home for the second time in history after 1896, the Olympic Games Committee decided the significant renovation of the Stadium, which started on 2002 and was fully completed in 2004. The renovation of O.A.K.A. (Olympic Athletic Center of Athens) was assigned to the famous architecture Santiago Calatrava, who had previous similar experience having designed parts of the Olympic facilities in Barcelona. The renovation, which cost approximately 265 million euros, comprised modifications in the Stadium's access, security and equipment, as well as the design and construction of the gigantic roof over the football stadium of the complex. The roof improved the court's acoustics and lighting, while protected fans from intense weather conditions.

The purpose of such a huge stadium always had been to host great events here in Athens. Greek's football giants Panathinaikos, AEK and Olympiakos (originated in Piraeus) have all used it for domestic and european games (Champions league, UEFA & Europa League, Cup Winners Cup etc) with AEK being still a tenant. The Stadium has hosted several major events such as the 1982 European Championships in Athletics, the 1991 Mediterranean Games, the 1997 World Championships in Athletics, three Champions League finals (1983, 1994, 2007), one Cup Winners Cup final (1987), as well as numerous games for the Greek championship along with 22 Greek Cup finals. One of the biggest and most important moments ever hosted at OAKA was, obviously, the athletics events and the football final at the 2004 Summer Olympics, as well as the opening ceremony on 13 August 2004, and the closing ceremony on 29 August 2004.

However, sport events are not the only major events that have taken place in the court of the OAKA stadium. Numerous great music concerts have been hosted there, such as the live music shows of Madonna, Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, AC/DC, Guns & Roses and Lady Gaga, while the stadium played host to Amnesty International's Human Rights Now! Benefit Concert on 3 October 1988, which was headlined by Sting and Peter Gabriel, and also featured Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Tracy Chapman, Youssou N'Dour, and George Dalaras.

*The Olympic Stadium of Athens is part of the Athens Olympic Sports Complex which consists of five venues: the Olympic Stadium, the Olympic Indoor Hall, the Athens Olympic Aquatic Centre, the Athens Olympic Velodrome and the Athens Olympic Tennis Centre.