Epidaurus is now famous for it’s vast theater, able to seat up to 15,000 and remarkable for its acoustic properties – at the very top of the amphitheater we could hear the crunch of gravel underfoot as people walked into the centre of the arena.
However, in classical times Epidaurus was renowned for the Asclepieion, a centre for healing, it’s name derived from Asclepius, the god of healing. The Asclepieion was founded in the 6th century BC and continued as a center for healing for over 1,000 years, into the Christian era. The ruins of the Asclepieion spread over a wide area and are far less busy than the amphitheater which the omnipresent coach tours rarely venture far beyond.
Oddly, the original entrance to the Asclepieion is now at the furthest edge of the whole site. We sat on the stone floor of the entrance undisturbed for quite a while. I thought about the long arduous journeys of the countless people who had walked across the stone floor, finally arriving at their destination in hope of receiving divine healing from the god Esclepius. A sobering thought indeed when you have a healthy body and an air-conditioned car close by.
The theater is still used for evening performances in the summer, if you are staying in Nafplion you can buy at ticket that includes travel there by coach.
From Athens, take the toll road to Corinth, the exit for Epidaurus is just before Corinth. Then follow the signs on the local roads. It will take another hour or more from the toll road.
There is also a road across the peninsular from Nafplio, an ideal base for exploring the area.