The small village of Archaia Nemea is immediately southwest of the archaeological site, while the new town of Nemea lies to the west.
In Greek mythology, Heracles overcame the Nemean Lion of the Lady Hera.
The temple of Nemeios Zeus was built with tufa on the ruins of an older archaic temple and is situated at the center of the holy grounds, dedicated to Zeus, which included several buildings and monuments. A combination of three ancient Greek architectural styles was applied (Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian Orders). During the excavations (1973 – 2004) the sanctuary of Zeus was unearthed, as well as bath facilities, the foundations of a large hostel, and the Shrine of Opheltes.
The Nemean Lion was a legendary creature in Greek mythology that ravaged the area of Nemea. Its fur was impenetrable by human weapons and hence, was unstoppable. It was considered the child of Typhon and Echidna, the father and mother of all monsters. Other accounts mention Zeus and Selene as their parents.
Slaying the Nemean Lion was the first task that King Eurystheus asked of the demigod Heracles during the myth of the Labours of Heracles.
Heracles tracked down the lion and tried to kill it by shooting arrows. He realized though, that it was no use because of its impenetrable fur. He waited until the lion entered its lair from one of the two entrances. He then blocked off the second entrance and entered the cave as well. There, he managed to kill the lion by strangling it with his bare hands. He then tried to remove the skin from the lion but his knife was unable to cut it. After a lot of effort, the goddess Athena decided to help him, and told him to use one of the lion’s claws to skin the creature.