The Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus is renowned for its influential healing cult and Hellenic architecture, especially its theatre.
The site is situated on the Peloponnesus peninsula. To the ancient Greeks Asklepios was the God of Medicine. A son of Apollo, he was given the healing gift after his mother died at his birth.
From the 4th century BC, Epidauros became widely known as a sanctuary to Asclepius. There were temples and hospitals here, and people from as far as Rome to seek help. Treatments included licks from snakes.
Also, every four years the Festival of Asclepieia took place at Epidaurus. Dramas were staged and athletic competitions were held. Today's best preserved building - the theatre - links to this.
Visit December 2001
The site lies in a darkgreen pineforest, with air as healthy as you normally can only wish. There's a huge parking lot, but at the end of December I was one of only a few guests. I had the amphitheatre, that sits 14.000 people, to myself. It's like a football stadium, without the fences and the advertising. Unbelievably well preserved also.
Besides the theatre you can visit a museum with local findings (mainly statues), and the excavations. Not much is in place of the hospitals, hostels, bathrooms and what more was needed to serve the stream of visitors looking to improve their health.
The location of the site is its major drawingcard. It's like a retreat, like the secluded places where they construct monasteries in Japan or South-Korea.
John Booth - October 2015
The Temple of Asklepios was known as a Sanctuary of Healing. As such it was the centre of medical research and treatment for the entire Greek and Roman world.
The site includes a hospital, baths, doctor's accommodation, hostels and sporting facilities.
Nearby is the theatre, which continues to provide entertainment.
Clyde - June 2014
I visited this WHS in June 2014. Having visited quite a number of classical WHS in Greece I took advantage of the long summer opening times and visited Epidaurus after 5pm. This meant that not only all the tour groups and coaches had left, but at times I was practically the only visitor around. I headed first towards the stadium and then walked among the ruins and numbered remains scattered around the few standing columns remaining. Then I visited the archaeological museum which has several stone and marble statues on display and then I ended my visit with the main highlight, the huge Epidaurus Theatre that has a seating capacity of 14000! If you are lucky enough to visit when there are Greek theatrical arts or operas played here do visit! The acoustics are close to perfect.
David Conquest - August 2010
Most people rave about the theatre, but the real attraction is the sanctuary. The current curator has a programme of limited restoration - the main target being the Tholos, but the rebuilding of a section of the Propylea and the Abaton are astounding - would that the whole of the magnificent entrance could be restored. Well worth a visit - forget the theatre!
Shelley Briggs - August 2006
The theatre is justly famous. When I was there, several children were testing the "you can hear a coin drop from the top tier" claim; it really is true! More interesting to me, however, was the sanctuary itself, with its hotel, baths, cafeteria (later transformed into a theater by the Romans; why they needed one when they had the great theatre a few hundred yards away is a mystery to me), tholos, and temples. Extensive reconstruction work was under way during my visit in 2006. Far from being a nuisance, it was fascinating to see the care and diligence with which the Greek people and their benefactors work on the ancient sites. This site was one of the most comprehensively sign-posted and hence easiest to understand (though I suspect you could study it for many years and never get it all) of all the places in Greece we visited.
Klaus Freisinger - July 2006
Undeservedly little known to many people, the site of Epidaurus is really one of the nicest and most interesting places to visit in Greece. The amphitheatre boasts great acoustics and is one of the best preserved ancient sites anywhere, and the rest of the archaeological area is very interesting as well, especially when you hear about the history of Epidauros as a kind of ancient spa and medical resort that featured hotels, hospitals, and bathrooms. The museum is pretty small, but has some interesting artifacts. The place is only about two hours from Athens and can easily be combined with trips to places like Corinth and Mykene.
Douglas Scully - April 2006
Epidauros theater is the best preserved and thoroughly of Greek design that I have ever seen, although some of it has been restored. The acoustics are amazing. The only theater that comes close in size is the one in Syracuse, Sicily.
Christer Sundberg - February 2006
Epidaurus is one of the most renowned of Greece’s ancient sites and regular buses runs between Nafplion and Epidarus making the “sanctuary of Asclepius” easily accessible. The famous theatre, which seats up to 14.000 people, actually a later “add-on”, is still used today for performances of ancient dramas.
My tour to Greece including Athens, Delphi and Peloponnesus, passing through Corinth, Olympia, Mystras, Mycenae came to a worthy end at Epidaurus, a tour through classical history and highly recommendable to anyone who have the time and interest to do it. I promise you it will be rewarding.
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Full name: Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus
2007 - Name changeFrom "Archaeological Site of Epidaurus" to "Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus"
1988 - InscribedReasons for inscription
The site has 10 connections.
- Locations for playing sport Palaestra (ancient Greek wrestling school)
- Piracy AB evaluation: "despite pillaging by ... the Cilician pirates, the restored sanctuary prospered during the Roman period as witnessed by the famous description by Pausanias in 150 A.D."
- Scientific Developments Development of Medicine
- Built in the 4th century BC Epidaurus entered its greatest period in the 4th century BC, when the Temple of Apollo Maneates and the great monuments of the Hieron were built. (AB ev)