The earliest reference to athletics games at Epidavros, called “gymnikoi” because the competitors were nude (Gr. gymnos), is in a victory hymn of the fifth century BC by the lyric poet Pindar.
There were four bathhouse complexes in the Asklepieion of Epidavros during the period of Roman rule (31 BC-AD 330). This is not surprising, considering the catharctic nature of water and the magical and therapeutic properties that the ancients attributed to it.
The entrance gateway to the Asklepieion of Epidavros was so impressive that on passing through it visitors felt they left the everyday world behind them and came out into a sacred space.
VIRTUAL TOUR - EPIDAVROS - THOLOS
This building is considered the most perfect one of circular plan in the history of ancient Greek architecture. The traveller Pausanias (2nd c. AD) called it Tholos, whereas in the related building inscription it is referred to as Thymele (altar).
Only the patient who had permission from the god could enter the Abaton or Enkoimeterion, a place prohibited, as its name denotes, to those who had not made the appropriate preparations.
TEMPLE OF ASKLEPIOS
In the cella stood the cult statue of Asklepios, work of the Parian sculptor Thrasymedes. Housed there too was the thesauros of the temple, a special construction in the floor.
TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS
Artemis, twin sister of Apollo, was worshipped in the Asklepieion of Epidavros in her own temple, built in the late fourth century BC. However, her presence in the sanctuary goes back much earlier.
SANCTUARY OF EGYPTIAN GODS
In this sanctuary Apollo, Asklepios and his daughter Hygeia were worshipped as Osiris, Horus and Isis, respectively.
CEREMONIAL HESTIATORION - ODEUM
As its name denotes (in Modern Greek hestiatorion = restaurant), the Ceremonial Hestiatorion housed ceremonial meals, in which the god himself participated alongside the pilgrims.
BATHHOUSE OF ASKLEPIOS
Holy water was ubiquitous in the Asklepieion of Epidavros, as purificatory ablutions were a prerequisite of the devotees’ participation in the rituals. Asklepios ordered the patients to bathe.
The numerous visitors to the Sanctuary of Asklepios, patients and pilgrims, needed somewhere to stay nearby, as the city of Epidavros was 15 km. away, a long distance for the means of transport of the day.
THEATRE OF THE ASKLEPIEION OF EPIDAVROS
This is the most perfect and famous monument of its kind, attracting over one million visitors a year.
When Ares and Aphrodite were wounded in the Trojan War, they were healed with herbal medicines by Paieon or Paion. This is related by Homer in the Odyssey, thus linking Paieon with Apollo.
Arts & Crafts
The Epidavros Festival, paramount cultural event of international renown, is held annually in the ancient Theatre of the Asklepieion of Epidavros.
Its sound lives on through the centuries
The secret of seabed of Epidavros
An underwater treasure left to explore
THEATRE OF THE ANCIENT EPIDAVROS
Known today also as “little Epidavros”, the theatre of the city-state of Epidavros is more or less contemporary with the theatre of the Asklepieion.
Along the lost pathways of Epidavros
Built upon the ruins of the ancient city-state from which it its name derives, Archaia (or Palaia) Epidavros is nestled between two peninsulas.
Built at the foot of Mount Arachnaios, on the road towards Lygourio, Arkadiko is a farming village with a population of 350.
Built on a precipitous hill-slope that ensured it was hidden from the seaward side, to protect it from piratical raids, Νea Epidavros preserves ruins of its Byzantine castle, which reinforced its naturally fortified location.
This is the closest settlement to the Sanctuary of Asklepios, which means that the one million and more visitors annually to the Asklepieion of Epidavros pass through Lygourio.
Famed for its honey, which is redolent with the aromas of the many herbs of the Epidaurian earth, Agios Dimitrios is a thriving village with a population of about 870.
Built in a fertile plain between four mountains, Dimaina has 650 inhabitants who, since the 1990s, have been involved with cultivating new crops.
A tavern full of stars
Wherever you go in the Municipality of Epidavros you will see olive groves. This means that every dish of food you taste will have been cooked with premium-quality virgin olive oil.
The region of Epidavros is renowned for its delicious fresh fish. That is why in the summer months the fish tavernas and restaurants are filled with theatre-lovers, who come here to see a performance at the Epidavros Festival.
In many of its settlements the Municipality of Epidavros resembles a large grove of citrus trees. The air is always filled with the fragrance of lemon blossom and the essential oils of the fruits.
The old settlement of Tracheia is famed for its cheeses. There are over ten cheese-making enterprises in this small village of 250 inhabitants.
Athens, a modern metropolis, a european capital, a nest for all the Mediterranean cultures. Athens, the meeting point of East and West, the harbor of everyone, who still loves passionately life! There are so many different ways to describe and analyse Athens, that any given effort to do a short depiction of the city is nothing but a try doomed to fail. Nevertheless, we will try to underline some of the main characteristics of the city of Athens. Visit Virtual Tour
A breath away from Athens, the birth place of Eleusinian Mysteries and goddess Demeter challenges you to explore it! Eleusis or Eleusina, as now known, one of the five sacred cities of antiquity enjoys the privilege of being located only thirty kilometers from the historic Athens. But let me refresh it! It could be the privilege of Athens to have so nearby a city full of life and history! Visit Virtual Tour
Even today’s visitors feel that they are in a sacred place as soon as they set foot in the Asklepieion of Epidavros. The place where healing was a religious mystery. The sick were cured by the god Asklepios in their sleep (enkoimesis) or received from him instructions on the therapy they should follow. From the sixth century BC until the end of antiquity, hosts of people resorted to the Sanctuary of Asklepios in expectation that their prayers for healing would be heard and answered by the god. These were patients and pilgrims who arrived there bringing precious votive offerings from all parts of the then-known world. Visit Virtual Tour
Peering over the plain of Argolis, up there from the heights of the acropolis, one comes to terms with the superiority of the Mycenaean civilization. It reached its heyday in the Late Bronze Age (1350 - 1200 BCE) and then disappeared, leaving to eternity its legendary acropolis, built on an inaccessible, rocky hill between two ravines. The footprints of the Atreidai, the mythical royal dynasty, are visible to today's visitor and inspire awe in an era like ours, in which myth meets the history of the most important period of the ancient world. Visit Virtual Tour
What can be said of Olympia and not sound like a cliché?
The significance of the archaeological site is self-evident, even if one is not familiar with the fascinating historical details and the political background, which literally span thousands of years. Known to the world as the cradle of the Olympic ideal, this open-air museum of imposing ruins and unique artefacts tells a story of religious piety, fair play, political ambition, and demonstration of power. All the buildings you can still admire were erected to please the gods and send a message to the thousands of visitors who swarmed to the sacred grounds. Walking around the Stadium, the Gymnasium and the Temples of Zeus and Hera – both instrumental in the ritual and competitive part of the Games – modern visitors will be able to understand why the event remained relevant even when the rest of the Ancient World was long dead. As an added bonus to the splendour of the site, the Museum of Olympia boasts some of the most famous works of art produced in the long course of Hellenic culture. Visit Virtual Tour
Travelling in the Messenian land from Mount Taygetus to the coast, our glance dives, following the sunlight dipping onto the Messenian plain. From the mountainous volumes to the fertile valley, the olive groves and herbs, we see a landscape of culture, myth, and history, unfold before our eyes. In the heart of the region of Messenia, one town stands out: Ancient Messene. This "blissful plain" as Homer calls it, became a theatre of war and mythical narrations offering a viewpoint on the past and the present. Visit Virtual Tour