The theatre of Epidauros is located in the eastern Peloponnese in Greece and is the largest and most impressive ancient theatre in the country.
The Theatre of Epidauros is the largest ancient theatre in Greece and the most magnificent structure of the ancient cult site of Epidauros. It is on our list of the top 10 sights of Greece. Epidauros is located in the east of the Greek peninsula Peloponnese about 65km from Athens and was dedicated to Asklepios, the Greek god of healing and medicine. Since 1988, the entire archaeological site of Epidauros has been a UNESCO World HeritageSite.
Table of contents
PICTURES: Theatre of Epidauros
The Theatre of Epidauros in Antiquity
Epidauros was the most important sanctuary of the healing god Asclepius. Thousands of pilgrims visited the city and broke offerings to pray for healing and health. The pleasant microclimate alone, which prevailed in Epidauros due to its elevated position and the pine forests, often contributed to the improvement of many a disease. The riches thus obtained brought great prosperity to Epidauros and enabled the construction of monumental buildings.
The gigantic theatre of Epidauros was built in the 4th century BC and is attributed to the architect Polyklet the Younger from Argos. The theatre immediately catches the eye as one approaches the cult site of Epidauros. The huge semi-circular tribune could seat up to 14,000 spectators. The Romans later added 21 rows to the original 34.
In addition to a perfect view of the circular Orchestra, the actual stage, the audience could also enjoy the breathtaking backdrop of the Argolic mountain landscape.
Behind the orchestra, where the chorus was located in classical drama, was the magnificent stage house, the so-called "skene", of which only the foundation walls remain today. At that time, theatre props were stored there and the actors could change their clothes. Later, the skene itself was included in the performances and served as a splendid theatre backdrop, painted or hung with panels.
Apart from the dimensions of the theatre of Epidauros, its excellent acoustics are particularly impressive. No matter where you are in the stands, you can hear a coin being dropped on the orchestra. This is due to the artful inward-curving shape of the rows of limestone seats, which filter low frequencies, such as the murmuring of the audience, and carry the high frequencies of the stage over long distances.
"Greek Festival" in July and August
The theatre of Epidauros still serves its original purpose today. In July and August, the international music festival "Greek Festival" takes place. For two months, the ancient world comes to life again in the theatre of Epidauros, when thousands of festival guests come to watch the spectacular music, theatre and dance performances.