Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus · 9 pics

Thirty kilometers east of Nafplio, Argolid Peninsula, Peloponnese, are the ruins of the ancient city of Epidaurus, founded back in the Mycenaean era. The main attraction of Epidaurus is the grandiose, perfectly preserved amphitheatre, one of the most unique historical monuments of Ancient Greece.

I visited Epidaurus in September 2015, and today I would like to share my pictures and a short story about this place.

The architect Polykleitos the Younger built the amphitheatre in the 3rd century BC. In the center of the theatre, there is a circular platform, the orchestra. At that time, this place was the main stage and was intended for performances. Behind the orchestra there was the skene, two-story building that housed rooms for actors and stored props (later, the skene was also used for performances). This skene has not been preserved and is not restored at present. Pay attention to the ruins behind the orchestra.

It is interesting that the existence of this ancient theatre became known only at the end of the 19th century AD, during archaeological excavations. In the middle of the 20th century, the amphitheatre was restored and expanded, and now it is one of the most impressive architectural buildings that can be seen in Greece.

I remember it was a hot day; the air temperature was at least 30 degrees Celsius. It so happened that I arrived in Epidaurus in the middle of the day, at the peak of the heat. I immediately went to explore the amphitheatre. The summer tourist season was ending and there were few people. If my memory serves me well, the entrance ticket cost 6 euros.

In the middle of the orchestra was a group of tourists. They stood holding hands and talking in low voices. It was like some kind of ritual. I went up a few rows and still heard them talking. Then I went even higher, listened and again heard their voices. They did not speak very clearly, but the audibility was excellent.

The fact is that the main feature of the ancient theatre of Epidaurus is the unique acoustics. The stone stands amplify the sound of what is happening on the orchestra. However, there was no wind that day and it was quiet. ;)

It was quiet, and some people were resting on large stone seats in the shade of the trees surrounding the amphitheatre.

The main purpose of the Epidaurus amphitheatre was performances, although it was also used as a place for city meetings. Originally, the theater was designed for 6,000 people, then another tier of seats was completed and the capacity increased to 14,000 people. The lower tier was for rich people, for ordinary spectators a higher tier was provided. In total, the Epidaurus amphitheatre has 55 rows of seats.

Nowadays, the Epidaurus amphitheatre serves as a stage for various performances within the annual Athens festival with great success. You can get more information and book tickets for performances on the festival's website.

Of course, Epidaurus is not only known for its amphitheatre. In ancient times, Epidaurus was known for its hospitals and healers. While walking through the territory of Epidaurus, you will find the ruins of the temple of Asclepius, god of healers, as well as the stadium and other details of the ancient city. In addition, there is a small archaeological museum.

On that hot day, I did not have time to see all the sights of Epidaurus, and I only visited the amphitheatre. Nevertheless, this visit left in my memory one of the indelible impressions of traveling in Peloponnese.

Thank you for reading!

Epidaurus, Peloponnese, Greece.
September, 2015.
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