Touring in Peloponnese: Epidaurus


Epidaurus Theatre, Greece4th stop: Epidaurus

Epidaurus was a small city in ancient Greece, at the Saronic Gulf. Two modern towns bear the name Epidavros Palaia (old) Epidavros and Nea (new) Epidavros.


Nafplion (1) Argos – Mykenes (2) Epidaurus (3)  Ermionida (4)
Coordinates: 37°38′N 23°8′E

History

Map to the Greek sanctuariesEpidaurus was independent of Argos and not included in Argolis until the time of the Romans. With its supporting territory, it formed the small territory called Epidauria. Reputed to be the birthplace of Apollo’s son Asclepius, the healer, Epidaurus was known for its sanctuary situated about five miles (8 km) from the town, as well as its theatre, which is once again in use today. The cult of Asclepius at Epidaurus is attested in the 6th century BC, when the older hill-top sanctuary of Apollo Maleatas was no longer spacious enough.

The prosperity brought by the Asklepieion enabled Epidaurus to construct civic monuments too: the huge theatre characterized by its symmetry and beauty is used once again for dramatic performances, the ceremonial Hestiatoreion (banqueting hall), baths and a palaestra. The theater was designed by Polykleitos the Younger in the 4th century BC. The original 34 rows were extended in Roman times by another 21 rows. As is usual for Greek theatres (and as opposed to Roman ones), the view on a lush landscape behind the scene is an integral part of the theatre itself and is not to be obscured. It seats up to 15,000 people. The theatre is marveled for its exceptional acoustics, which permit almost perfect intelligibility of unamplified spoken word from the scene to all 15,000 spectators, regardless of their seating.

The large columns on display in the museum of EpidaurusStatue of Asklepios - Museum of Epidaurus TheatreMuseum of Epidaurus, GreeceAncient site of Epidaurus, GreeceEpidaurus Theatre, Greece

Corinthian capital - Archaeological Museum of Epidaurus The Archaeological Museum of Epidaurus is noted for its reconstructions of temples and its columns and inscriptions; it was established in 1902 and opened in 1909 to display artifacts unearthed in the ancient site of Epidaurus in the surrounding area.
Epidaurus was a major healing center in classical Greece. The museum is small, but there are some interesting artifacts that show how ancient medicine was actually practiced.

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