The Ancient Theater of Epidaurus

by Cristina on November 24, 2007

by Cristina | November 24th, 2007  

Epidaurus is a small village located quite near Athens. The modern town, Epidavros, was built near the ancient site. The village is well known for the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus, one of the best preserved ancient theaters. The easiest way to get here is from Nafplion, located at about 2.5 hours drive from Athens. Most travel agencies organize day trips on the island so be sure to check with your travel agent.

Archeological Site

The main archeological site is the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus. The theater was constructed in the late 4th century BC. Originally it had 34 rows and was used for dramatic performances. The Romans added another 21 rows. Even in ancient times, the theater was considered to have great acoustics. The actors can be perfectly heard by all 15,000 spectators without the sound having to be amplified. The limestone rows filter the low-frequency sounds –such as the murmur of the crowd – but amplify the sounds from the stage.

It still is one of the most beautiful open-air theaters. The view behind the scene was and still is an integrated part of the theater.

The theatre was discovered in 1970 and the excavation began in 1972. Supplementary excavations were needed to bring the entire theatre to light and to consolidate the building. Restoration work has been carried out so that the theatre can still be used safely.

However, in ancient times, Epidaurus was also linked to Asklepios, the main God of the village. Therefore another interesting building to visit is Asklepion, or the healing center. Askhelpios was the God of healing and the ill were taken to the center in hope of being helped by the God.

The healing center includes a sanctuary, temples and constructions dedicated to other deities as well.

Also on site you can visit the Archeological Museum of Epidaurus, which displays objects found in the healing center. It also has a large collection of fossils among other displays.

Festival

Epidaurus Festival, taking place every year in late spring, has been recreating the ancient Greek classic theatre for more than 40 years. The tickets run from 15 to 50 € depending on where the seat is located. Usually performances start at 9 PM.

Photo credit: 1 – en.wikipedia.org

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