20100408 epidaure29.JPG
Epidaurus is located in Greece
Coordinates 37°38′N 23°8′E / 37.633°N 23.133°E / 37.633; 23.133Coordinates: 37°38′N 23°8′E / 37.633°N 23.133°E / 37.633; 23.133
Country: Greece
Region: Peloponnese
Regional unit: Argolis
Population statistics (as of 2001)
 - Population: 9,275
 - Area: 338.1 km2 (131 sq mi)
 - Density: 27 /km2 (71 /sq mi)
Municipal unit
 - Population: 4,471
 - Population: 1,935
Time zone: EET/EEST (UTC+2/3)
Auto: AP
Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus *
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Panoramic view of the theatre at Epidaurus
Country Greece
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iii, iv, vi
Reference 491
Region ** Europe and North America
Coordinates 37°35′46″N 23°4′45″E / 37.59611°N 23.07917°E / 37.59611; 23.07917 (theatre)
Inscription history
Inscription 1988 (12th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List
** Region as classified by UNESCO

Epidaurus (Greek: Επίδαυρος, Epidavros) was a small city (polis) in ancient Greece, at the Saronic Gulf. Two modern towns bear the name Epidavros (Επίδαυρος): Palaia Epidavros and Nea Epidavros. Since 2010 they belong to the new municipality of Epidavros, part of the peripheral unit of Argolis. The seat of the municipality is the town Asklipieio.[1]



Epidaurus was independent of Argos and not included in Argolis until the time of the Romans. With its supporting territory, it formed the small territory called Epidauria. Reputed to be the birthplace of Apollo's son Asclepius, the healer, Epidaurus was known for its sanctuary situated about five miles (8 km) from the town, as well as its theater, which is once again in use today. The cult of Asclepius at Epidaurus is attested in the 6th century BC, when the older hill-top sanctuary of Apollo Maleatas was no longer spacious enough.

There were two other similarly named Greek cities. One Epidaurus[2][3] in Dalmatia and another Epidaurus Limera in Laconia.

The asclepieion at Epidaurus was the most celebrated healing center of the Classical world, the place where ill people went in the hope of being cured. To find out the right cure for their ailments, they spent a night in the enkoimeteria, a big sleeping hall. In their dreams, the god himself would advise them what they had to do to regain their health. Found in the sanctuary, there was a guest house for 160 guestrooms. There are also mineral springs in the vicinity which may have been used in healing.

Epidaurus is southeast of Delphi, across the peninsula from Argos.

Asclepius, the most important healer god of antiquity, brought prosperity to the sanctuary, which in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC embarked on an ambitious building program for enlarging and reconstruction of monumental buildings. Fame and prosperity continued throughout the Hellenistic period. In 87 BC the sanctuary was looted by the Roman general Sulla, and in 67 BC, it was plundered by pirates. In the 2nd century AD, the sanctuary enjoyed a new upsurge under the Romans, but in AD 395 the Goths raided the sanctuary.

Even after the introduction of Christianity and the silencing of the oracles, the sanctuary at Epidauros was still known as late as the mid 5th century, although as a Christian healing center.


The prosperity brought by the Asklepieion enabled Epidaurus to construct civic monuments too: the huge theatre that delighted Pausanias for its symmetry and beauty, which is used once again for dramatic performances, the ceremonial Hestiatoreion (banqueting hall), baths and a palaestra. The theater was designed by Polykleitos the Younger in the 4th century BC. The original 34 rows were extended in Roman times by another 21 rows. As is usual for Greek theatres (and as opposed to Roman ones), the view on a lush landscape behind the skênê is an integral part of the theatre itself and is not to be obscured. It seats up to 15,000 people.

The theatre is marveled for its exceptional acoustics, which permit almost perfect intelligibility of unamplified spoken word from the proscenium or skênê to all 15,000 spectators, regardless of their seating (see Ref., in Greek). Famously, tour guides have their groups scattered in the stands and show them how they can easily hear the sound of a match struck at center-stage. A 2007 study by Nico F. Declercq and Cindy Dekeyser of the Georgia Institute of Technology indicates that the astonishing acoustic properties are either the result of an accident or the product of advanced design: The rows of limestone seats filter out low-frequency sounds, such as the murmur of the crowd, and amplify/reflect high-frequency sounds from the stage.[4]


The municipality Epidaurus (Epidavros) was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 2 former municipalities, that became municipal units:[1]


  1. ^ a b Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
  2. ^ Aulus Hirtius,(De Bello Alexandrino c.14)[page needed][when?]
  3. ^ Austria: Her People & Their Homelands by James Baker,""... dates back to the sixth century B.C.E., when the Greeks founded here Epidaurus"[page needed][when?]
  4. ^ Chao, Tom (2007-04-05). "Mystery of Greek Amphitheatre's Amazing Sound Finally Solved". LiveScience. http://www.livescience.com/history/070405_greeks_acoustics.html. Retrieved 2007-04-05. 

Further reading

  • Arafat, K. W. 1995. Die Skulpturen des Asklepiostempels in Epidauros. Classical Review, 45, no. 1, pp. 197–198.
  • Holland, Leicester B. 1948. Thymele: Recherches sur la of Archaeology, 85, no. 3, pp. 387–400.
  • Vassilantonopoulos S. L., Zakynthinos T., Hatziantoniou P. D., Tatlas N.-A., Skarlatos D., Mourjopoulos J. N., “Measurement and Analysis of Acoustics of Epidaurus Theatre”, presented at the Hellenic Institute of Acoustics 2004 conference (in Greek), Thessalonica.[1]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • EPIDAURUS — urbs Peloponnesi, Aesculapii templo celeberrima. Unde etiam Romani cum gravi pestilentia laborarent, consulroqueve oraculo iuberentur Aeseulapium Romam advehere, trire mem cum legatis ea de causa Epidaurum misêre. Verum cum Epidaurii Deum… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Epidaurus — Epidaurus, alte Stadt in Argolis, mit berühmtem Asklepiosheiligtume …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Epidaurus — Epidaurus, griech. Stadt auf der argolischen Halbinsel mit gutem Hafen, Seehandel, gutem Weine und Pferden u. dem berühmten Tempel des Aesculap, zu welchem unzählige Kranke wallfahrteten; von diesem und großen Krankenhäusern sind noch Ruinen… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Epidaurus — /ep i dawr euhs/, n. an ancient town in S Greece, in Argolis: sanctuary of Asclepius; outdoor theater still in use. * * * Town, ancient Greece. An important commercial centre in the northeastern Peloponnese, it was famed for its 4th century BC… …   Universalium

  • Epidaurus — Teil des Heiligtums in Epidauros; April 2008 Epidauros (griechisch Ἐπίδαυρος, lateinisch: Epidaurus) ist die bedeutendste antike Kultstätte für den Heilgott Asklepios in Griechenland. Sie liegt auf der …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Epidaurus — geographical name ancient town S Greece in Argolis on Saronic Gulf …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • EPIDAURUS —    a town of ancient Greece, in Argolis, on the eastern shore of the Peloponnesus; was at one time an independent State and an active centre of trade, but was chiefly noted for its famous temple of Æsculapius, to which people flocked to be cured… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Epidaurus — Ep•i•dau•rus [[t]ˌɛp ɪˈdɔr əs[/t]] n. anh geg an ancient town in S Greece, in Argolis: sanctuary of Asclepius; outdoor theater …   From formal English to slang

  • Epidaurus — /ɛpəˈdɔrəs/ (say epuh dawruhs) noun an ancient city and port in Greece, in north eastern Peloponnesus, in Argolis on the Saronic Gulf …   Australian English dictionary

  • Epidaurus — /ep i dawr euhs/, n. an ancient town in S Greece, in Argolis: sanctuary of Asclepius; outdoor theater still in use …   Useful english dictionary