From Pausanias we learn that in Messene, the deity of Asclepius apart from his healing properties had also a political aspect incorporated in the Messenian citizenship. Behold, an extraordinary venue of high aesthetics and beauty; the walk from the Asclepieion to the Ekklesiastirion area reminds us of an art museum. Imposing statues look at us from above and examine us. As part of a city abundant in statues and civil art, this was not a casual healing temple but the most important venue of Messene, in the centre of the city's public life, operating in parallel with the adjacent Agora (marketplace). 140 bases for bronze statues mainly of public officials and five platforms surround the Doric-styled temple and alter. Almost all the statues of the Asclepieion complex were created by sculptor Damophon (2nd cent. BCE).
The Ekklesiastirion or Odeon is a small theatre-like, concave construction. A venue for the citizens to convene, dedicated to the civil, religious and musical events of antiquity. Here, worship ceremonies took place to honour Messene and Asclepius. It is a place to exchange ideas until today, since ancient tragedy plays are still staged and concerts and conferences are held.
The Ekklesiastirion is a miniature of the Ekklesia of ancient Athens. Is such an approach coincidental? We see that citizens are taught how to participate in the city's civil life: participation in celebratory and ritualistic activities is just the starting point to partake in the political administration of the city, the focal element of Hellenic democracy. Here we understand the importance of active citizenship.