Isthmia and the Panhellenic games

Isthmia is a spot located very near to Corinth, next to the Isthmus of Corinth were the Peloponnese and mainland of Greece are connected to each other. This is been a strategic, crucial and important spot since ancient Greece for a variety of reasons, among which we can name the trading of products and the practice of sports.

Within Isthmia, there is one of the most interesting places in that region of Greece, known as the Temple of Poseidon. This Temple, built and fortified towards the year 1200 BC, was a place of great importance where people would gather for religious issues as well as they would use it as an athletic centre.

The Panhellenic Games used to be held in Isthmia, at the Temple of Poseidon, every two years. This athletic competition was organized and held in honor to Poseidon, the god of the sea and earthquakes also known as Melicertes-Palaemon, and was one of the most important events not only of Isthmia, but the entire region as well.

Towards the 11th century, the Temple of Poseidon started being used for a variety of festivities and ritual celebrations. Within the following centuries, this temple would go through a variety of changes and additions, in such a way that it would end up with an appearance very different from the one it originally had.

Isthmia has played a very important role in the progress in the creation of stone temples. Along with Corinth and its Temple of Apollo, this spot shows some of the first indications of permanent materials such as stone for the construction of their temples. These Temples show very interesting architectural structures along and seem to be pioneers in the use and combination of some specific permanent materials

According to some excavations done in Isthmia, in the area where the Temple of Poseidon was built, this temple was originally created as a long building which had 5 columns placed in a row at its centre. The most antique remaining found in this area show the use of wood and stone, being this a clear indication of the way in which its constructors passed from the use of wood to the use of stone in it.

Map of Isthmia in Greece