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What to see in Greece

Epidaurus

All the guides to places of interest in Epidaurus start with the famous theatre that bears the name of the city. This is perfectly reasonable, because of its state of preservation among other things, which means that plays can be performed there even today. But there are many more things to see in Epidaurus, and we are going to list them all so you can take advantage of every second of your visit.

What to see in Epidaurus

The Theatre of Epidaurus: the first essential stop

Construction

The construction of the Theatre of Epidaurus dates from 330 BC, when it was built to host the celebration of the Asclepion, a festival in honour of the god Asclepius, with gymnastic contests and musical competitions. A shrine was also built during the 4th century to honour the same god of medicine, right next to the stadium. As a result, Epidaurus became a place of pilgrimage for Greeks who hoped that the miraculous waters of the place would cure them of their illnesses.

History

Both sanctuary and theatre have suffered from looting throughout history, but this has not prevented the theatre of Epidaurus from being one of the best preserved in Greece. In fact, most of the building is still original, and very little restoration work has been done on it.

The venue has room for 14,000 spectators to sit in circular stands around the orchestra, or central strip, which measures 20 metres in diameter.

This construction served as a model for other Greek theatres.

You may have heard that its best feature is its acoustics and that a coin dropped on the floor in the middle of the orchestra, can be heard by someone sitting in one of the uppermost stands. It's true.

Other places to see in Epidaurus

As we said at the beginning, there's a lot to see in Epidaurus besides the theatre. In fact, the entire city is a historical and archaeological site that is worth investing some time in. If you travel in summer, always do so with a bottle of water and sunscreen, as the heat can be excessive.

Epidaurus Archaeological Museum

One of the places of interest to see in Epidaurus is its small Archaeological Museum. Here you will find explanations about the buildings outside and decorated ceramic pieces, columns and statues. It won't take you long to see its galleries and you'll get much more out of your visit.

The Temple of Asklepios

The Temple of Asklepios is also known as the Asklepion of Epidaurus and, as its name indicates, it was dedicated to the god of medicine, Asclepius, son of Apollo. Although only its remains can be seen today, this was one of the most important temples of ancient Greece. When it was still in use it had a facade of six columns, with eight more columns on the sides. The statue of the god was displayed in the doorway, which was made of ivory and wood, and in front of it stood a huge altar measuring fifteen metres, where sacrifices to the god of medicine were made.

The Tholos

The most attractive feature of the Tholos were 26 columns standing 7 metres high enclosing an inner colonnade of 14 smaller columns. It was a circular temple that is now being recreated and must have been impressive in its prime.

Epidaurus Stadium

The Asclepeia was the part of the Panhellenic Games held in Epidaurus every four years. The competitions that formed part of the celebration were held in this stadium. It was built during the 5th century BC.

Halfway between the Stadium and the theatre lie the ruins of a huge square building, another of the places of archaeological interest to be seen in Epidaurus. This was a hotel where the patients who were being treated at the Abaton spa could receive visitors. We know that there were 160 rooms, but none remain

Katagogion

The Katagogion or Enkoimeterion is a stoa that was used as a dormitory It was used to house the sick waiting for their turn to be treated. The treatment consisted of sleeping in this building after going through a purification ritual in the baths and making a sacrifice to the god. Then, while they slept, Asclepius would send them a dream that held the secret of their healing.

There's a lot to see in Epidaurus. Indeed, the city's archaeological complex is much larger than most travellers expect. Although the best preserved site is the theatre, a visit to the Archaeological Museum will give you an idea of what the city must have looked like during its heyday. Take a walk through its streets and enjoy a trip back in time thanks to Exoticca.

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