The Panathenaic Stadium or Panathinaiko (Greek: Παναθηναϊκό στάδιο, also known as the Kallimarmaro (Καλλιμάρμαρο, meaning the "beautifully marbled"), is an athletic stadium in Athens that hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Reconstructed from the remains of an ancient Greek stadium, the Panathenaic is the only major stadium in the world built entirely of white marble (from Mount Penteli) and is one of the oldest in the world.
In ancient times, the stadium on this site was used to host the athletic portion of the Panathenaic Games, in honor of the Goddess Athena. During classical times, it had wooden seating. In 329 BC it was rebuilt in marble by the archon Lycurgus and in 140 AD was enlarged and renovated by Herodes Atticus, giving a seated capacity of 50,000.
The remnants of the ancient structure were excavated and refurbished, with funds provided by Evangelis Zappas, for the revival of the Olympic Games. Zappas sponsored the Olympic Games that were held there in 1870 and 1875. In 1895 the stadium was refurbished a second time for the 1896 Olympics, with completion funding provided by the Greek benefactor George Averoff, whose marble statue now stands at the entrance, based on designs by the architects Anastasios Metaxas and Ernst Ziller.
The stadium was built long before dimensions for athletics venues were standardized, and its track and layout follow the ancient hairpin-like model.
It could once seat about 80,000 spectators on fifty rows of marble steps and currently holds 45,000 spectators
The stadium is located in the central Athens district of Pangrati, to the east of the National Gardens and the Zappeion Exhibition Hall, to the west of the Pangrati residential district and between the twin pine-covered hills of Ardettos and Agra. Up to the 1950s, the Ilissos River (now covered by, and flowing underneath, Vasileos Konstantinou Avenue) ran in front of the stadium's entrance, and the spring of Kallirrhoe, the sanctuary of Pankrates