After the establishment of the Greek state in early 19th century, many attempts were made in Greece in order to revive the Olympic Games. However, the First International Olympic Games were held in 1896 in Athens, the first Olympic city. The choice of Athens was a symbolical act of recognition of the Hellenic contribution to western culture and civilisation.
The ideal of the Olympic Games absolutely captivated the modern nation-states. In symbolic terms, these Games were the celebration of modern societies, which faced the new era with optimism and faith for the future. It was also the reassurance of the heritage of the Greek classical culture. The atmosphere of these days proves the effort put in identifying the two cultures, classical and modern.
19th century Athens
Athens became the pole of attraction of various groups of people and the field of cultural and political confrontations and changes. Thus, it became the melting pot of different cultures. By 1896, it possessed a fully realized urban environment fashioned in genuine neoclassical style.
Source: “Olympics through time” Foundation of the Hellenic World