Epidaurus Archaeological Site

Travel Guide at a Glance
Destination best for: sightseeing, archaeological site, historical site, museum
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Introduction

Epidaurus is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. It is located near Nauplion in Peloponnese, making it easy to combine in one visit with Mycenae. The most important attraction of the site is the well preserved ancient Theatre that is considered to be the most beautiful in the world for it's perfect visual proportions and spectacular acoustic response of its space.

Epidaurus theatre
Epidaurus Theatre
This is one of the best preserved, and arguably one of the most beautiful Greek theaters. If you visit only one ancient theatre, this must be the one!

 

About Epidaurus

The sanctuary of Asclepios at Epidaurus is a spiritual place worth traveling around the world to visit! In fact the ancient Greeks did just that in order to pay tribute to their spiritual entities in the face of Asclepios, and to ask the gods for remedies for their physical ailments. It was a healing and cultural center in ancient times where the mental, spiritual, and physical self were treated as one.

Epidaurus was built round the 3d Century BC and it is adorned with a multitude of buildings most famous of which is the ancient Theater of Epidaurus.

This is one of the very few theaters that retains its original circular "Orchestra" and it is a rear aesthetic sight. During Roman occupation of Greece, most theater "Orchestras" were changed from a circle to a semicircle but luckily The Theater at Epidaurus escaped intact.

The view, aesthetics, and acoustics of the theater are breathtaking. The view from the theatron (the seating area) is spectacular the way the sweeping architectural geometry merges with the beautiful hilly landscape beyond the scene.

When you visit, don't forget to stand in the center of the circular orchestra (right on the square marble that marks it), and speak speak as softly as you can. Be amazed how your voice returns to your ears in a stereophonic fashion, and how even the farthest seating spectators can hear you in the stands!

The theater is still in use today with frequent plays, concerts, and festivals, most of which take place during the summer months.

There is a small museum near the entrance of the site worth visiting for the statues and replicas it contains, but most of the important statues from the Epidaurus are housed at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

The museum provides a welcome relief from the relentless summer sun, and there is a simple water faucet outside of the museum. The sanctuary of Asclepios is an extended archaeological site with many interesting buildings and a newly excavated stadium. The most interesting building is by far the Tholos that unfortunately must be experienced by some distance since archaeologists are working on restoring it.

Practicalities

Getting to Epidaurus is easiest from the Corinth-Nauplion highway. If you are driving from Athens, you will see signs near Corinth to Epidaurus, but these are signs that point to the old (1950's) coastal road. This latter way might be the most scenic route, but the former is faster and a lot more comfortable to drive.

The site at Epidaurus is exposed to the elements (sun rays) and the walk through it can be challenging at times (though not as rough as Mycenae), so proper attire is advised (sneakers, head-gear, sunglasses), and a good supply of water as they are commodities not easily obtained once there.

The entrance to the site would cost you about US$4 and you can buy simple maps, or guide books sold near the ticket counter. The site is about five-minute walk from the ticket counter. While the ancient theatre is well preserved, the same is not true for the rest of the sanctuary. If you are in a hurry, or if you only want the "highlights", you can visit the theatre and the museum and skip the rest of the archaeological site which covers a large area.

Food and water can be bought near the ticket kiosk at the entrance, but once inside the site, there are no amenities aside from the utilitarian restrooms near the theatre.

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