Olympia, Pisa, Corinth: Tiny Places That Left a Huge Mark on the Map

Fareeha Arshad

The entrance of the stadium in Ancient Olympia, GreeceWikimedia Commons
Several great nations, countries, and cities contributed a lot to history in terms of arts, culture, science — you name the field. Even in the present, some cities continue to influence us in most aspects of our lives. London, Athens, New York, and multiple other big cities worldwide hold prominence in the world for their culture, opportunities, and influence. Yet, history wasn’t made solely because of the contributions of the big cities. There were smaller nations, countries, and towns with tiny populations that left a massive mark on the world map because of their powerful cultures, influential political systems, and their incredible structures.

1. Olympia in Greece

Olympia in Greece is a small city with a rich history and a considerable world influence even today. It is the ancient city where the Olympic games first started. The tradition to lit the Olympic Torch started in this infamous city. During ancient times, a ‘sacred’ torch was lit from the sun’s rays and remained lit until the games ended. This practice first started in the modern Olympics of 1928 held in Amsterdam, and since then, the tradition has continued until the present day.

2. Pisa in Italy

Photo by Heidi Kaden on Unsplash

Pisa is a tiny city in Italy with historical significance. This city homes one of the oldest universities in Europe — The University of Pisa that first opened in 1343. Pisa also homes the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Cathedral Square, a pretty popular tourist spot.

Pisa has also been known for one of the world’s wonders: the attractive Leaning Tower of Pisa from the twelfth century. This breathtaking marble structure boasts six floors and is fifty-six meters tall. Because it was not built on solid ground, it leans towards the south. Every year architects notice a further increase in its inclination, yet the structure gracefully holds itself off the ground.

3. Corinth in Greece

Photo by Greg Gallaher on Unsplash

Located at one of the most influential ports of the ancient world, Cornith was the world’s most advanced Greek city by 730 B.C. This was way before other ancient cities like Macedonia or Athens came into the picture.

Cornith homed Periander, one of the Seven Sages of Greece and Diogenes of Sinope; and also hosted two of three ancient games — the Isthmian and the Nemean Games. This ancient city was also well known for its architecture and design. The Corinthian order was the most detailed of the classical orders in ancient Greek architecture.

The Corinth Canal was built in this city by the Ancient Romans and Greeks. Much later, in the nineteenth century, the Canal of Isthmus first opened to the public and has remained of the most eye-catching cultural sites of the modern world.

What are the other small, ancient cities or towns you know about, that changed the world as we see it today? Do let us know in the comments section.

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I am a scientist by profession and a historian by passion. I mostly write about history and science.

Texas State

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