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Pankritio Stadium

(updated August 4, 2007)

The main stadium of Crete is the Pankritio Stadium (Pan-Crete stadium; for the whole of Crete). This multifunctional arena with football field, 400 meters tartan track, swimming pool and various training facilities can accommodate 26,400 spectators. Since the Olympic Games in 2004, it is home of the football team OFI Crete.

The Pankritio stadionThe Pankritio stadium

The construction of the stadium began in 1990. But after that not much progress was made. Until in 2001 in which Heraklion was designated as an Olympic venue. To finish the stadium in time the construction activities resumed. The stadium was opened on March 31, 2004 with the friendly match between Greece and Switzerland. Greece won the match: 1-0. The only goal was made by Vassilis Tsiartas of AEK Athens.

During the Olympic Games of 2004 12 football matches were played in the stadium. Especially in the first round of the Olympic tournament the stadium was used a lot. But, also the ladies semi-finals between America and Germany (2-1) were played at the venue. The public attention to the matches was disappointing. The Olympic matches attracted not half the number of spectators OFI Crete attracts at their home matches.

The stadium is in the Lido district in the west of Heraklion. Because the city has few tall buildings it's easy to see the stadium from the higher points of the city. It is right next to the sea. From the center of Heraklion you can follow the "62 Martyrs' Avenue" to the stadium. Signposts lead you to the stadium. The stadium is really not worth visiting. It is not modern or particularly in size and the tartan track between the stands and the field makes matches boring. From some places in the stadium, however, you have a beautiful view over Heraklion and the environment.