The shape of mount Olympus, the polymorphous and changeable beauty of its nature, the fog covered peaks and law clouds bringing about frequent the under storms, filled people with awe and admiration from ancient times. There are recent archaeological finds that go back to the Iron Age. Prehistoric man chose to live at the foot of this glorious mountain. Inspired by its mystery he created the legends that gave birth to the Twelve Greek Gods.
The twelve gods live in ravines, “the mysterious folds of Olympus” according to Homer. They have their palaces there. Pantheon (today’s Mytikas) is their meeting place. Their tempestuous discussions are heard by the god of gods Zeus sitting on his imposing throne (today’s Stefani). From there he unlooses his thunders showing “his godly wrath”. In Iliad mount Olympus is described as magnificent, long, glorious and full of trees.
At the foot of the mountain, 5 kilometres from the sea, a sacred Macedonian city is dedicated to Zeus (Dias) and is called Dion. It is estimated that it flourished between the 5th century B.C. and the 5th century A.C. The excavations, that started in 1928 and are still going on, revealed archaeological finds of the Macedonian, Greek and Roman Era. They are exhibited in the museum of Dion. Piblia and Livithra are two more ancient cities near mount Olympus and are closely related to the legend of Orpheus and the Orphic Secret ceremonies.
The history of mount Olympus continued being turbulent even under the Turkish occupation. The mountain was used as a hiding place for the famous “armatol” fighting the “yoke of the tyrant”. During the German invasion in 1941, the Greek army along with Australian and New Zealand units fought important battles. Later on the Greek Resistance found a nestling place there.