The Olympic Flame Lighting Ceremony 2024 – Ancient Olympia Greece

On Tuesday 16 April 2024, the Olympic Flame will be lit in Ancient Olympia in Greece. The Flame will then travel around Greece, and eventually reach Paris, where the 2024 Olympics will be held. Here is how to watch this unique ceremony.

Olympic Games 2024 – Lighting the Olympic Flame in Greece

This coming Tuesday, April 16, the Olympic Flame ceremony will, once again, take place in the site of Ancient Olympia in the Peloponnese, Greece. 

The archaeological site of Ancient Olympia - World Heritage Day

This unique ceremony, which happens once every four years, will kick off the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

After the Flame has been lit, it will travel around Greece, and eventually reach Paris, where the 2024 Olympic Games will begin on July 26.

The Olympic Flame ceremony in Ancient Olympia

The Olympic Flame ceremony will be conducted in the Temple of Hera in Ancient Olympia. 

Adhering to ancient rituals, the High Priestess will use the rays of the sun and a concave mirror, and invoke Apollo, the God of the Sun, to ignite the Olympic torch.

Olympia ancient Greece Olympic flame ceremony

The ceremony in Ancient Olympia is open to visitors, and entrance will be free. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11:30, so anyone interested in attending should plan to be there by 09:00.  

If you are planning to go, bring with you plenty of water, sunblock, a hat, sunglasses, and a mat or something similar to seat on if needed.

If, like most people, you can’t go, you can watch the event live on the Olympic Games official website.

Olympic Flame itinerary in Greece

If you are in Greece between 16-26 April, you might be able to catch the Olympic Flame elsewhere in Greece!

After Ancient Olympia, the torch will travel through various ancient sites, cities and Greek islands, as follows:

16 April: Ancient Olympia – Amaliada – Ancient Ilis – Andravida – Gastouni – Pyrgos – Zacharo – Filiatra – Pylos

17 April: Pylos – Methoni – Sparta – Tegea – Tripoli – Ancient MycenaeNafplionNemea – Piraeus port in Athens (ferry + flight to Kastellorizo island)

18 April: Kastellorizo – Crete > Agios Nikolaos – Ancient KnossosHeraklionRethymnonChania (ferry to Piraeus port + flight to Santorini)

19 April: SantoriniNaxosParos – Athens – Acropolis

20 April: Acropolis – Athens – Olympic Stadium – Ancient Delphi – Lamia – Volos

21 April: Volos – Larissa – Trikala – Kalambaka – Meteora – Thessaloniki

22 April: Thessaloniki – Ancient Filippi – Kavala – Xanthi – Komotini – Alexandroupolis

23 April: Alexandroupolis – Veria – Vergina – Ancient Aigai – Ioannina

24 April: Ioannina – Igoumenitsa – Corfu

25 April: Corfu – Mesolonghi – Rio-Antirrio Bridge – Patras – Corinth

26 April: Corinth – Megara – Ancient Marathon – Lavrion – Sounion – Niarchos Foundation – Athens – Panathenaic Stadium in Athens (scheduled for 18:30)

These will all be broadcasted on the official Olympic Games website. I’ll also be updating my FB page, so you can keep up! 

The Olympic Flame in Ancient Olympia

Invocation to the God Apollo

There were many temples of Apollo all around Ancient Greece. One of his most famous temples was in Ancient Delphi, which is a popular ancient site in Greece, and is easily accessible on a day trip from Athens.  

Here is the invocation to God Apollo that will be read out during the Olympic Flame ceremony*. In Greek, Apollo is also known as Phoebus. 

Sacred silence.

Let the sky, the earth, the sea and the winds sound.
Mountains fall silent.
Sounds and birds’ warbles cease.
For Phoebus, the Light bearer King, shall keep us company.

Apollo, God of Sun and of the Idea of Light,
Send your Rays and light the Sacred Torch for the hospitable city of (Paris).
And you, Zeus, gift peace to all peoples on Earth
And wreath the winners of the Sacred Race.

Bravo, glorious victor!

*Adapted from the official website of the Hellenic Olympic Committee.

History of the Olympic Flame Ceremony

The origins of the Olympic Flame ceremony go back to 1936, the year when the Olympic Games were held in Berlin. This was the first time in the history of the modern Olympics that the flame was lit in Ancient Olympia.

On that occasion, the flame travelled through Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, Czechoslovakia and eventually reached Germany. 

In 2004, when the Olympic Games were held in Athens, the torch had travelled through the following countries: Greece, Australia, Japan, South Korea, China, India, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, USA, Canada, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, France, Great Britain, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Bulgaria and Cyprus!

Here is some more information about the origins of the Olympic Games in Ancient Greece.

Temple of Poseidon in Sounion

Vanessa from Real Greek ExperiencesHi! I’m Vanessa from Athens. Follow me on my social media for more Greece-related news and inspiration:


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