Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
Perth, Scotland, United Kingdom
September 5, 2009
From journal Beyond Athens: Greek highlights from Peloponnese & around
by Re Carroll
Abbotsford, British Columbia
June 23, 2003
Many of the pieces in the museum were reproductions with the originals on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Since that museum is closed until 2004, I was more than happy to view reproductions, especially given the high quality of the work. The museum is divided into three separate rooms. The first one has a large display of ancient medical instruments found at the site. Inscriptions on marble tablets detail accounts of cures found at Epidauros. There are also other tablets relating to the financial transactions of the sanctuary’s construction.
For me, the highlight of the museum was the second room with its large reproduction of a statue of Asklepios. At the back of the room is a
reconstruction of the colonnade of the Propylon, the monumental entrance to
The last room showcases finials from a temple to Artemis and a reproduction of the Tholos of Polykleitos which was dedicated to the cult of Asklepios. Polykleitos was a renowned architect who was responsible for the Epidauros Theatre. Drawings and a narrative explain how the Tholos was built. Unfortunately, there is no original copy of the Tholos because it was
partially destroyed in a 6th century earthquake and the remains were stripped
during the middle ages for use in Byzantine churches and Turkish mosques. Pillars from the Temple of Artemis and the Temple of Asklepios are also on display.
A small gift shop near the entrance sells post cards and guide books. The museum is definitely worth seeing when at Epidauros. It has a lot of
information on the site and helps bring structure to the many ruins scattered
throughout the grounds.
From journal Greek History 101
The healing ritual included purification and making sacrifice to the god and then hopefully, their cure would be revealed to them in their dream. As well as via prayers, medicine at Epidauros was hands on and many medical instruments that were discovered among the ruins are on display at the museum.
As Epidauros grew and became wealthy, it added a stadium, gymnasium, baths, the theatre and more to keep people entertained while they waited for treatment. There is little left of most of those buildings except for the Theatre.
Built in 4th century BC, it is the best preserved of all the ancient Greek theatres. The acoustics are perfect and even from row 55 at the top you
can hear everything being said at ground level. During the summer, the Theatre hosts a drama festival featuring classical Greek plays.
In 1st century BC, Epidauros was raided twice - first by the Romans and then by pirates. It was rebuilt in 2nd century AD but plundered later by the Goths. Two major earthquakes in 6th century AD pretty much finished off the site. For some reason, the Theatre was left undisturbed every time.
The rest of the site wasn’t so lucky and much of what remains is just foundations and broken columns. The Stadium still features some of the original tiers and parts of the starting blocks are visible.
There was something mystical and magical about the site and I purposely missed my bus so I could stay longer. A grove of pine trees rims the ruins and a narrow path through knee high grass passes by broken columns laying in fields surrounded by red poppies, white daisies and yellow buttercups. There is a gentle stillness and a sense of peace at Epidauros. Even without offering sacrifices to the gods, I got a sense that healing can still happen here.
Admission is 6 euro and includes a pamphlet with a map. Even so, the site isn’t well marked and can be confusing to navigate so bring a good guide book. Outside the entrance is a small snack bar and the Xenia hotel cafe which didn’t appear to be open during my late April visit.
Parts of the site are being reconstructed and although it will be fascinating to see the buildings as they originally looked, I think I’d prefer the site left as is - a place that feels like the ancients are still here, practicing their healing magic.
Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
March 23, 2002
The cultural historical importance of this place is proven by the fact the UNESCO has put Epidauros on the World Heritage List. The touristic value becomes clear when you arrive at the enormous parking lot built at the entrance of the site. Fortunately in spring it is relatively quiet, so we could park our car in one of the scarce shaded parking-spots.
From the entrance it takes a short walk trough the shadowy hills of Epidauros before you arrive at the highlight of this site, the ancient theatre. This imposing and very well conserved building from the fourth century BC can seat almost 14,000. It is built in a natural basin at the foot of a hill. Maybe this explains the fact that even the most softly spoken word can be heard in the top-row. The white limestone benches are perfect for a picnic in the sun, with a panoramic view on the Argolic landscape. Every summer, in July and August, classical drama are performed here.
Not far from the theatre you can find a small museum exhibiting the finds from the sanctuary. On display are a few interesting statues, part of the tympanum of the temple of Asclepios and the frieze of the Tholos. There also is a model of the sanctuary.
From the museum a path leads to the excavation of this sanatorium. You’ll need an even bigger imagination for this pile of stones than for the Ancient Agora in Athens. This doesn’t make them less interesting though, especially when you have studied the model in the museum well. The most intriguing is the perfectly round Tholos. Although uncertain what the purpose of this building was, it is assumed it was the place where the holy snakes were kept, whose flashing tongues were said to have healing powers.
From journal Touring the Peloponnese