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Sanctuary of Asclepius at Epidaurus – The stoa of Abaton or “Enkoimeterion” (incubation hall) was the place in which patients were cured, through the contact with the healing god Asklepios during the “enkoimesis” (incubation). This kind of healing was a mystery, so the scoa was an “abaton” (impenetrable), which means blocked for those who had not prepared themselves to encounter Asklepios.
Abaton was a long narrow building, 70 m long and 10 m wide, built in two levels on a rather steep slope north of the temple of Asklepios and the Tholos. It was constructed in two phases. In the early 4th century B.C. the eastern half of the stoa was built on the higher part of the slope. The architect of the second phase (late 4th century B.C.) exploited the difference of level produced by the slope to the northwest and added there a two-storeyed stoa doubling the original length of the building.
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Who destroyed the Parthenon? – When you visit the Parthenon for the first time you may feel disappointed because it doesn’t be well preserved. This is especially true if you don’t know all the things that has happend to the Parthenon.
The temple has endured many vicissitudes. Not only the time has ruined the Parthenon but also some people, in the course of history, did their part in taking off works of art from the Parthenon. Furthermore it was also bombed! Who destroyed the Parthenon? Who bombed it?
The first major destruction occured in 267 AD due to arson. In the late 3rd or late 4th cent A.D., the interior of the temple was destroyed by fire either by Germanic tribe of the Heruli (267 A.D.) or by Alaric’s Visigoths (396 A.D.)
During the early Christian period (6th cent A.D.), the new perceptions on art led the destruction of many works of art around Greece. This included many of Parthenon’s sculptures.
The Parthenon became the church of the Holy Virgin of Athens, the largest in the city. During the construction of the Christian apse at the east porch, the central scene of the east pediment with the birth of Athena was lost. After 1205, it felt into hands of the Franks of the 4th Crusade, becoming a church of the Latin faith.
When Athens was surrendered to the Ottoman Turks in 1458, the temple became a mosque with a minaret.
In 1687, during the siege of the Acropolis by the troops of Venetian general Francesco Morosini a cannoball made a direct hit in the interior of the temple, which the Turks used as powder magazine. The terrible explosion blew up the roof and destroyed the long sides of the temple as well as parts of its sculptures.
1456 The Ottomans conquer Athens. The site of the Acropolis is used for habitation while the Parthenon is converted in a mosque.
Who destroyed the Parthenon? In 1687, during the siege of the Acropolis by the troops of Venetian general Francesco Morosini a cannoball made a direct hit in the interior of the temple, which the Turks used as powder magazine. The terrible explosion blew up the roof ond destroyed the long sides of the temple as well as parts of its sculptures.
1687 The Venetians siege the Acropolis which is under Turkish occupation. An artillery shell hits the Parthenon, which is being used by the Turks as a powder magazine and ignites a colossal explosion. The monument shakes and is widely damaged. The east frieze collapses.
1688 Francesco Morosini, the commanding Admiral of the Venetians, tries to remove the horses and Poseidon statues from the west pediment to transport them to Venice. The operation is unsuccessful, the statues fall dawn to the ground and shatter.
Who destroyed the Parthenon? The most severe damage to the monument was caused in 1801-1802, when the Scotch ambassador of England to Constantinople Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, removed the gretest part of the sculptures that also compromised structural members of the temple.
By bribing the Turkish garrison of the Acropolis and employng teams of the Italian artist G.B. Lusieri, Elgin removed and transported to England 19 pedimental sculptures, 15 metopes and the reliefs of 56 sawn blocks of the frieze, today exhibited in the British Museum in London.
1799 Thomas Bruce, 7th Lord of Elgin, is appointed Ambassador of His Brittanic Majesty in Constantinople in order to reinforce the relationships between the Ottoman Empire and Britain.
1800 Elgin organize a mission to Athens in order to, as it was officially stated, study, sketch and make casts of the sculptures of the Parthenon. The group includes architects, moulders and the painter Feodor Ivanovitch. The court’s painter Don Giovanni Battista Luisieri is chosen to led the mission.
Elgin’s fervent desire to obtain the original scupltures emerges very soon and results in the uncontrollable plundering of the Acropolis. Using his political influence and by generously bribing the officils he secures the authorities concession. The removal and transportation of the inscriptions, sculptures and architectural members from the Acropolis begins in July of 1801 and last 4 years.
1802 September. Block V of the eastern frieze, which lays on the ground is sawed off to diminish weight from approximately becomes less than during the transportation it breakes in two pieces.
1802 September 16th The block is packed and loaded on the brig Mentor. During the voyage the ship is hit by a storm and sinks.
1804 – 1805 The cargo’s retrieval is completed. The artifacts from the shipwreck are loaded onboard ship and continue their jouney to England. Block V arrived in London throught Malta.
1801, July 31st. Elgin begins to detach the metopes of the southern side of the Pathenon. Metope 27 is the first one to be removed. The procedure is depicted ans documented by the English painter E. Dodwell, an Eye witness.
“I saw several metopae at the south-east extremity of the temple taken down. They were fixed in between the triglyphs as in a groove; and in order to lift the up it was necessary to throw to the ground the magnificent cornice by which they were covered.”
After its removal from the Parthenon the metope ends up in England in 1802.
1962 The British Museum opens a new room the Duveen Gallery, which houses the sculptures from the Parthenon.
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Disneyland Paris Castle. The Sleeping Beauty Castle, the dragon under the castle, the inside of the castle and the final show.
It’s the central icon of Disneyland Paris and it’s the place where dreams come true.
Don’t miss to see the drago under the castle. Under the castle there is “La Tanière du Dragon” where a monstrous prisoner lurks. Once the ruler of the skies, this defeated dragon lies chained against jagged rocks. It may be dozing, but tread carefully, as one false move will lead to a hot, rumbling surprise;).
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The Lion Gate Mycenae – Not far from the Treasury of Atreus or Agamemnon’s Tomb we find the ancient city of Mycenae. The entrance to the city was guaranteed by a very particular door: The Lion Gate Mycenae.
The fortification wall of the Mycenaean acropolis follows the natural contour of the ground and is founded directly on the outcropping bedrock. It is in the shape of a triangle and covers an area of 30,000 sq. m. with a total length of 900 m. It was built in three construction phases.
The oldest fortification, which dates to 1350 BC, contained the highest part of the hill. For the construction of these walls were used boulders of hard limestone bedrock.
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The Lion Gate Mycenae is characterized by a central slab supported by two lateral ones. Rectangular stone rocks are placed one above the other except for the suspended central slab. A pure aesthetic factor?
The heavy stone rocks were not placed on the central slab in order not to weigh it down. There was in fact the risk that otherwise it could be broken. For this reason it was left empty. In order not to leave it completely empty and to complete the work, a decorative plate was placed.
The Lion Gate Mycenae takes its name from the decorative plate placed on the top of the door. It is called the Lion Gate but it would be more correct to call it the lionesses Gate. The lions on the slab lack the characteristic mane of the lions.
The decorative slab is now partially ruined by time but the 2 lionesses must have originally had their heads turned towards those who entered.
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For many peoples the main reason to visit the Archaeological Site of the Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus is the Epidaurus Theater.
The Epidaurus Theater is in fact the best preserved monument in the Sanctuary of Asklepios.
Let’s see a few information about the Epidaurus Theater!
The Epidaurus Theater was erected at the end of the 4th century B.C.
According to the ancient traveler Pausanias (2nd century A.D.), it was the work of the architect Polykleitos, who built also the Tholos in the same Sanctuary.
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The auditorium of the Theatre the koilon or cavea, consists of two unequal parts, which are divided by a horizontal walkway, known as the diazoma. The lower part is divided by 13 radiating staircases into 12 wedge-shaped segments, the kerkides or cunei, with 34 rows of seats each. At the upper part of the cavea 23 radiating passages divide it into 22 wedge-shaped segments with 20 rows of seats.
To each segment of the lower part correspond two segments of the upper part. The seats of the lowest row were provided with backrests and used as “prohedriae” (front seats of honour); similarly shaped were the seats of the upper part’s first row. Uphill pathways outside the Theatre led on both sides to the horizontal passage which divided the upper from the lower part of the cavea.
It is estimated that the Epidaurus Theater could accommodate 12,000 spectators.
Epidaurus Theater is a characteristic example of Hellenic theatres’ tripartite structure (orchestra – cavea – stage building). Its original form remained intact in Roman times, during which most Greek theatres underwent major changes. The floor of the circular orchestra (diameter 20 m) is beaten earth. It is outlined in stone, while at its center, a circular base of an altar, the thymele, is preserved. A walkway surrounds the orchestra on the lower level, which served additionally as a drain for rainwater.
The scene (stage building) in front of the orchestra and the cavea served the needs of the actors and had a parallel use as storage room of theatrical equipment.
The scene building was composed of
Scholars estimate that the total height of the stage building was 7.60 m. Spectators entered the Epidaurus Theater through two impressive gates situated on both sides of the stage building, between it and the lower part of the retaining wall of the cavea. The seats of the cavea were made out of local grey at reddish hard limestone, while for the stage building, a yellow soft limestone was used.
The cavea was constructed at the end of the 4th century B.C. while the stage building was modified during the 2nd century B.C. A characteristic feature of the Theatre was (and still is) its excellent acoustics. It had largely to do with its design. The creation of the circular shape of the cavea was based on three centres. The eight central cunei corresponded to a circumference which had as centre the centre of the orchestra.
The two lateral cunei were designed with different centers, which lay further away from the orchestra’s center, providing a larger radius and, consequently, a larger circle. Besides its contribution to acoustics, this “opening” on the edges of the cave allowed a better view of those sitting in the lateral cunei.
The Theatre of the Sanctuary was closely connected to the cult of Asklepios.
During the festivals held in honor of the god, athletic games, musical and dramatic contests also took place. The latter was surely housed in the Theatre, where most probably deep-rooted ceremonies were closely connected with the cult.
Today theatrical plays are again performed in the Epidaurus Theater during the summer (Epidauros festival). The Theatre was excavated in 1881 by P. Kavvadias, who then carried out partial restorations. Restoration works by An. Orlandos took place in the monument in the years 1954-1963.
He proceeded then to a reconstruction of the proscenium, which was later removed. The Committee for the Conservation of the Epidauros Monuments restored the western parodos gate, the last upper western cuneus (1988-1999) and the ancient drains (1992-2007). A third program includes restoration works in the cavea and the stage building.
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