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Visit Epidaurus

Epidaurus is an ancient Greek sancturary on the Argolide Peninsula of the Peloponnese area of Greece. The sancturary is an extensive archaeological site about 50 kilometers south of Corinth.

Epidaurus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Explore Epidaurus

Epidaurus was a small city which was famous for its sanctuary and for its theatre. It was the most important healing centre in the world during the Greek period - for at least four centuries - based on the tradition that it was the birthplace of Asklepios, son of Apollo and a doctor who was resurrected after his death and made a god by Zeus.

Sanctuary of Asklepios

The sick would come to sleep in a great hall at Epidaurus, and while they slept Asklepios would tell them in their dreams what was required to become well again. The great number of visitors that this attracted enabled Epidaurus to become a very wealthy location, and to build other monuments here such as the theatre, public baths and a sports stadium. Hence it became an important centre for many types of cultural activity.

Modern visitors are particularly attracted to Epidaurus for its ancient theatre which is one of the best preserved in the world. The theatre was designed by the architect Polykleitos the younger in the 4th century BC.

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The theatre has a rare circular orchestra, most are semi-circular and has a seating capacity for about 12000 spectators. The first 34 rows are original and the higher rows were added in the 2nd century.

The theatre and the rest of the site was destroyed by Goths, the Emperor Theodosius II and by earthquakes but in the 19th century excavations began and the beautiful theatre is virtually intact.

The theatre has excellent acoustics, indeed your guide will send you to a far corner of the stadium and then speak in a low voice to demonstrate that you can still hear him perfectly well! The theatre also has excellent views over the Peloponnese countryside. The ancient theatre of Epidaurus is in use today and you can watch plays performed as part of the Athens-Epidaurus festival in July and August.

ancient stadium of Epidaurus

While the theatre is the main attraction at Epidaurus, there are other ruins to be seen at the site, including the baths and sports stadium and the Temple of Asclepius.

The Temple of Asclepius, the god of health was a major part of the original sanctuary. Only a few columns remain standing. The Tholos is a circular structure of white stones that is thought to have been another theatre.

The remains of the 5th century stadium can still be seen and is where sporting events were held. The presence of the temple and stadium at Epidaurus attest to the size and inmportance of the town. There is also a museum at Epidaurus containing archaeological finds from the site.

Attractions nearby

The nearby old town of Nafplio is one of the most beautiful in Greece and is a good place to have as a base when exploring this area.

Mycenae is an important Bronze Age site and gave its name to the Mycenaean civilisation.

Visit Corinth with its Corinth Canal and the museum of Apollo at the Archea Korinthos archaeological site.

See also: 

Map of Epidaurus and places to visit

 
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Epidaurus places to visit

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