The fantastic Theater of Epidaurus: a wonder of ancient Greece

by | Feb 6, 2022 | Archaeology | 0 comments

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Located in the heart of the historical and archaeological site of Epidaurus, a small town in southern Greece, it is one of the most important ruins from antiquity. The theater was built on the slope of Mount Kotroni, at an altitude between 100 and 200 meters above sea level. It had a semicircular shape (seating capacity, 15000), with three entrances; two were located at ground level through which spectators would enter from both sides to reach their seats while one entrance was positioned at a higher level for those who arrived by horseback.

Today its remains are still impressive: four rows of steps that lead to this magnificent monument remain intact, as well as parts of some marble columns and fragments that show traces of red paint on them. The cavea (seating area) was built from white marble, while the rest of the structure, including the stage building, was made from local limestone.

In this theater, there were special facilities for those who wanted to attend a theatrical performance: porticos and small fountains were built in order to refresh spectators during the summer heat, while at the back of the theater, there was a great reservoir that supplied water for centuries. The theater was used from the 4th century BC until 426 AD when it was closed due to earthquakes that occurred in the Peloponnesus region.

Today, visitors can still admire this architectural masterpiece, which has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.

The Theater of Epidaurus influenced theater and medicine throughout history. The theater was originally built in the fourth century BC as part of the cult of Asclepius, the god of medicine. The theater was used to host music, songs, and dramatic games as part of the religious ceremonies. The theater also had a positive effect on mental and physical health and was used as a means of healing the sick.

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