The still in use Theatre of Epidaurus is world famous for its excellent condition and flawless acoustics, but there is more to Epidaurus than just the theatre, it was once a huge religious centre dedicated to the god of healing - Asklepios. Situated just east of Nafplio, and was in use from the 6th century BC to the 2nd AD, Epidaurus is a must see for anyone with even a slight interest in ancient history.
The Theatre of Epidaurus was built in the 4th century BC by Polykleitos the Younger and thankfully for it remote location much of it is still intact today, never having the pilfering as other ancient sites have had over the millennia. The theatre became over grown and buried, believed to be just a hollow in the side of a hill until it was discovered in the 19th century.
Theatre is 114m (374ft) across and has 35 rows of seats divided into 34 blocks by stairs and walkways. The bottom tier of 12 blocks was the original theatre built in the 4th century BC, the top tier of 21 blocks was built much later during the Roman period.
The orchestra or stage is 20m (60ft) and the only one to survive from antiquity. Supposedly if you drop a pin in the centre of the orchestra you can hear it hit the ground from any where in the theatre. The theatre is still in use today with actors coming from all over the world to perform there.
The Sanctuary of Asklepieios was used as a therapeutic and religious centre dedicated the God of healing Ask. Although there are lots of buildings in the complex the main one is the Tholos (also built by Polykleitos, the passages are thought to have been used as a pit for sacred serpents. Patients slept in the Enkoimitiria (a hall) near the Tholos where they would wait a dianostic dream or a visit from a serpent.
There is also a natural mineral spring near (next to the museum) which was also used for healing. East of the Tholos was the Temple of Asklepios, only the foundations survive today.
The Theatre of Epidaurus is the best preserved ancient theatre in the world with perfect acoustics. The theatre was overgrown and buried under a mound of earth looking like just a hollow in the side of a hill until it was discovered in the 1900 century.
Location - Epidaurus is in the North-East of the Peloponnese about 50km south of Corinth.
Getting to Epidaurus Epidaurus is about an hour and a half drive from Athens, there are lots of coach and day trips organised from Athens.
Entrance fee:The entrance fee for Epidaurus is 6 Euros.
Opening hours: (summer)08:00 - 19:00. (Winter) 08:00 - 17:00. Closed on all public holidays.
Tips:Make sure you visit other sites near to Epidaurus like Mycenae, Nafplio and Corinth.