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.
Sanctuary of Asclepius at Epidaurus
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.
Watch the video of the Sanctuary of Asclepius at Epidaurus:
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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!
How old is the Epidaurus Theater?
The Epidaurus Theater was erected at the end of the 4th century B.C.
Who built the theater of Epidaurus?
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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How many people could the original Theatre of Epidaurus seat?
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.
What is remarkable about the theater at Epidaurus?
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
a rectangular oblong hall with two smaller square rooms on each side,
a proscenium (stage), on whose facade was fixed panels representing the setting of each play,
two ramps, one on each side, which provided access to the roof of the proscenium for the actors, and
an upper storey of the scene building, of which no evidence has been preserved.
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.
What was the Theatre of Epidaurus used for?
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.
Why is the Theatre at Epidaurus still famous?
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.
Ancient Corinth is a very good day trip from Athens. From Athens it takes about 1 hour and 15 minuted by car. Ancient Corinth is worthy of a visit for several reasons.
Firstly it’s very interesting in trying to understand the life in the this rich city. It was a very multicultural city because of the Corinth Canal. It’s true it wasn’t navigable till the end of the 1800 so ships had to be transported to the other side and they prefered this option rather than navigate all around the Peloponnese Region. You can see how the Corinth Canal is now, watching the video below:
Ancient Corinth is also linked with the Apostle Paul who lived and preached in the city for several time.
In order to enjoy more the visit we examine a few information about the Ancient Corinth.
What are the characteristics of the Ancient Corinth? What was life like there? You’ll discover it while reading this post.
Outside the walls of Ancient Corinth
Ancient Corinth covered a range of 900 km2 because there wasn’t only the main city but also many smaller settlements.
Already from the 8th c. B.C., it was a rich and a powerful city-state especially due to two ports:
At Lechaion in the Corinthian Gulf
At Kenchreai from the side of the Saronic Gulf
Ancient Corinth and its reign
The eastern region of Corinthia was relatively underpopulated. The most important settlement of the region must have been Solygeia, close to the modern village Galataki.
The most northern settlement of Corinthia was Krommyon, close to the modern village Ayoio Theodoroi. According to myth, this is where Theseus killed the dangerous sow, Phaia.
Corinth consisted of dozens of settlements, small and large. But what did their residents have in common?
These people drew their common descent from the Dorians. And of course, they shared a common language and alphabet.
Ancient Corinth was built at the foot of the Acrocorinth, a majestic hill, dominating the landscape.
The home’s life in Ancient Corinth
In ancient Greece private buildings were usually humble structures unlike many public magnificent constructions.
Households were run by women. They were responsible for raising their children and supervising the slaves, who were given the heaviest duties in the house.
Men were usually absent. mainly occupied with political and professional engagements.
Visiting the Ancient Corinth you easily understand how the women’s habits were very similar to ours. In the museum you can see face care sets, such as profumes and cosmetics, hair accessories and eyebrow tweezers.
Gods Venerating And Heroes
The Corinthians worshiped Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, Demeter, Kore, Hera and Poseidon. Hero cult was a distinctive aspect of ancient Greek religious life.
Heroes, men who had showed remarkable activity during their lifetime, were honored after their death with rituals performed at their tombs or at an open-air sanctuary. Heroes’ sanctuaries were built along side roads or over older graves.
A temple dedicated to Apollo
The Temple of Apollo is the archaeological site biggest monument. The temple was built in the 6th c. B.C., when Corinth was at its zenith, on the site of an earlier temple. It was constructed from the local poros limestone.
The temple is in Doric order and originally had six columns at each end and fifteen along each side. Notable characteristics of its archaic date include the great length of the temple relative to its width, the large monolithic columns, and the squat, widely flaring capitals. Although most of this mid-6th century B.C. building has been destroyed, the bedrock preserves cut-tings made to receive the foundation blocks and thus allows a reconstruction of the temple’s plan.
The main part of the temple (sekos) was split into two non-communicating rooms. The roof was decorated with colorful architectural elements.
The interior of the temple consists of a porch at either end and a long central part (the cella) divided into two rooms by a cross wall. The traditional reconstruction of the plan makes this cross wall a solid wall and provides access to the western room of the cella through the western door.
The seven standing columns of the Archaic temple are one of the most prominent landmarks of Corinth.
The Acrocorinth: The sanctuary of Demeter and Kore
Demeter and her daughter, Kore or Persephone, were worshiped in a large sanctuary on the northern slope of the Acrocorinth.
In the 4th c. B.C., a small theater was carved into the rock. Three small temples were also built in the Roman Period.
Odeum & theater of Ancient Corinth
The theater was a place in which dramatic and musical events were staged. In the roman period staged fighting was added.
The theater has several phases. The original structure was built late in the 5th c. B.C. and had permanent seats but only a wooden stage building.
This was supplemented with a new orchestra and stage structure in the Hellenistic period.
In later antiquity theatrical tastes changed and the orchestra was converted into a gladiatorial arena.
Ancient Corinth and Cristianity
Ancient Corinth is also important because is linked with apostle Paul’s or Apostle of the Nations. Paul lived and preached in Corinth. When you visit the ancient Corinth you can also see the famous Bema.
This was likely the tribunal were Paul was brought for judgment before the proconsul Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeanus. He was accused of illegal proselitism and they brought him in the tribunal or bèma.
Because of its position the bema was used to speak to the crowd. Not only the Ancient Corinth has a bema. In the ancient greek cities it was in fact common to meet in front to a Bema.
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Greece Mycenae. Treasury of Atreus: the Legendary Tomb of Agamemnon. The Tholos or ‘Beehive’ tomb dubbed the ‘Treasury of Atreus’ or the Tomb of Agamemnon is one of the most splendid monuments of Mycenaen architecture.
Let’s see something about it so you can appreciate more your visit.
This tomb is incredibly large and what makes it amazing is how it was made. It has been preserved down to our days, in fact it is just as it was originally made. Some details could go unnoticed but with a more detailed examination we understand the purpose.
This applies for example to the empty triangle above the entrance door. This triangle was used in case of earthquakes to keep the structure intact.
Another extraordinary detail that strikes our imagination is the stone block always placed above the entrance. This is in fact a single huge and very heavy block placed at a considerable height. One wonders how they got it. Maybe with rollers? In any case, it must not have been easy.
We understand the size of the Treasury of Atreus by comparing the size of the door with a person placed at the entrance. In this comparison, the person is tiny. Just think that when you go outside on top of the monument it seems to go up a hill. This becomes an observation point for the surrounding landscape.
Treasury of Atreus
The Treasury of Atreus was built between 1350 and 1250 BC, it consists of a domos or passage, stomion or entrance, tholos or vaulted chamber and a smaller side chamber.
Distinctive features of its construction are the use of megalithic elements in the entrance such as jambs and lintel and its carefully coated masonry.
The monumental facade was decorated with a variety of materials. Parts of the sculpted decorations are today in the British Museum in London and in the National Archeological Museum in Athens.
The tomb was found robbed, like all the tholos tombs, and there is no information on either the grave goods or the burials it once housed. It was never buried by earth and remained always visible, attracting the attention of ancient and later travellers.
Watch the following video! Then see what I described above about the Treasury of Atreus
The Treasury of Atreus is located very close to the archaeological site of the ruins of Mycenae. The visit to the Treasury of Atreus does not take long. Therefore it is easy to visit on the same day both the Treasury of Atreus and the ruins of ancient Mycenae with its attached museum.
In addition, the ticket you buy at the Treasury of Atreus is also valid for Mycenae. So don’t make the mistake of buying the same ticket twice!
Unforgettable Ancient Sparta – The history of Ancient Sparta is very famous but we may wonder: are still there ruins of Ancient Sparta?
Yes, there are. To find the answer we have visited the ruins of Sparta. What can you visit and what is still visible of the Ancient Sparta? In this post we are going to examine what you can see if you visit the Sparta Ruins.
Video of Ancient Sparta Ruins, Leonidas’ Tomb and the museum
Here you can find the video about Ancient Sparta Ruins, Leonidas’ Tomb and the museum. Watch the following video and Subscribe to our YouTube Channel if you aren’t already subscribed! Subscribe here!
Ruins of Sparta
Ancient Sparta was very important in its times but this greatness was lost in the past. When you visit the ruins of Sparta, you don’t feel it. The area is nice because it’s on a hill and you can enjoy walking through a lot of trees and the view around you.
Anyway the ruins of Ancient Sparta are not well preserved. The best ruins you can visit in Ancient Sparta are the ones of the Ancient Theatre. That’s why we start our tour at the Theatre.
The Theatre of Ancient Sparta
The ancient theatre of Sparta is situated at the southern slope of the Acropolis Hill. Ancient authors confirm the existence of a theatre in the city of Ancient Sparta since the 5th century BC. It’s closely connected with the celebration of religious ceremonies. It is not confirmed that it was founded in the same position as the one visible to modern visitors.
The main theatre had ten staircases and nine bleachers, whereas the upper part of the theatre (epitheatron) had seventeen staircases with sixteen bleachers.
The theatre had a cavea of 141 m in diameter and was one of the biggest theatres in Peloponnese. It had a large scene building (skene), an acting area (proskenion) and also a U-shaped orchestra.
By the end of the 1st century AD the theatre was furnished with a monumental marble building of the Corinthian order, the erection of which was founded by Emperor Vespasian.
The theatre was in use by the end of the 3rd to the beginning of the 4th century AD. By that time, the Late Roman Fortification had been erected, which incorporated the skene’s west wall. However after a period of abandonment, a Byzantine settlement was established at the theatre area (10th to 14th century AD).
The Agora of Ancient Sparta
The monument known as the “Agora” was excavated during the 1960s by the Greek archaeologist Chrysanthos Christou. He revealed the southwest inner corner of a large stoa. The walls were constructed from large porous stone blocks in the polygonal style. The upper part of the walls as well as the inner walls forming small rooms within the portico. Which differ as they are made of limestone in the pseudo-isodomic way.
The stoa is located to the north of the “Round Building” in the Agora area. Due to the adjacent west hill’s slope, it probably had two floors at the southeast side and a single floor at the northwest. The building also served as a retaining wall.
There were foundations of houses and construction from the Byzantine period to the east and north of the building. During this time, additional construction and repairs were conducted at the stoa.
According to Christou, the stoa was built in the 4th or 3rd century BC and underwent alterations in the 2nd century BC. There is evidence confirming the operation and use of the building up to the 3rd century AD. Inside the building, a large bronze statue of Julia Aquilia Severn (3rd century AD) was found.
The monument has been associated with the Persian Stoa, the building that impressed Pausanias during his visit to the Agora of Sparta.
In the Persian Stoa, statues of captive Persians supported the roof instead of columns. According to some scholars, this monumental stoa was part of a larger complex of two-storey porticos. That complex defined the Agora area at the south-west.
The “round” Building
The “round” Building was essentially configured around a natural low hill. It’s a construction of a heavy retaining wall that followed the contour of the mound. The wall consisted of a three-stepped base upon which rested tiers of a large conglomerate stone. Bands of marble plaques were placed between the tiers. The inner part of the imposing curved wall consisted of large unworked stones.
This retaining wall, along with the natural mound of earth, created a large platform on the hill’s upper surface, which also hosted several practices and structures throughout antiquity.
The structures on the top of the hill are partly preserved. Their surface was artificially leveled and contained holes carved into natural bedrock, part of a marble statue base of the Roman period and twenty-two rectangular blocks of porous stone.
At the northwest and higher part of the summit, a wall was revealed carved into the natural bedrock. This enabled access to the plateau with the colonnade. A group of early Christian graves and a sacrificial deposit were uncovered at the south side of this summit.
The identification of the monument is problematic. Among those proposed, the most favored identification has been that of the “circular building” of Epimenides containing statues of Zeus and Aphrodite Olympia (ca. 600 BC).
Scholars have also suggested the monument could be the Skias. The Skias is a place for public and musical performances built by Theodoros of Samos (mid-6th century BC).
The new evidence, which came to light during the current project, suggests an early date of the monument. Probably of the Archaic period (late 7th to early 6th century BC). That includes a reconstruction and an extensive repair having taken place around the 1st century BC.
The Byzantine church at the round Building
The church is located at the south slope of Acropolis Hill. It’s built at the western edge of the retaining wall of the “Round Building”.
It is an almost square building. The entrance of the church was probably located in the middle of the west wall. There is evidence of another door on the north side of the same wall. The building’s exterior sidewalls extended further to the west, but their original length cannot be determined.
The church walls have been revealed and can be attributed with certainty to the time of its construction. They are made of rubble with broken bricks at the joints and mortar covering the stones’ outlines. Traces of mortar in contact with the northern part of the middle apse reveal the church floor’s level. Faded traces of painted decoration are preserved on the inner side of the north wall of the church.
According to the current state of research, the church may be dated to the Middle Byzantine period.
The so called “ST.NIKON S” Basilica
The basilica was demarcated to the north and south by an enclosure wall. Is located some meters to the east of the theatre.
The church is a three-aisled basilica with three-sided apses to the east and a narthex to the west. The aisles were separated by columns resting on high bases. The narthex and the nave were communicating through a large opening (tribelon). Smaller openings provided access to the side aisles.
The tripartite sanctuary is of unique architectural interest. The main sanctuary is separated from the bipartite rooms next to it (parabemata). Walls separate it in the middle of which a semi-circular niche with a passage was formed. At the middle apse, there was a semi-circular area with seats (synthronon). The bishop and the priests used those seats during the ceremonies.
Between the synthronon and the wall of the apse there is an ambulatory. It’s a corridor to facilitate the movement of the priests in the sanctuary during the Divine Liturgy.
There is no secure evidence for the time of the monument’s construction. Its dating ranges from the second half of the 6th century to the 7th century AD.
Sanctuary of Athena CHALKIOIKOS in Ancient Sparta
The remains of the Sanctuary of Athena Chalkioikos. The longest and most important sanctuary in the area of the Acropolis, are located above the Roman theatre.
The earliest archaeological finds date from the Mycenaean period. The cult of Athena on the Acropolis began in the 8th century BC. The sanctuary was abandoned in the 4th century AD and houses were built in its place.
The temple of Athena originally belonged to the kome Pitane. Eventually, the Athena of the Acropolis became a patron goddess (Poliouchos). The name Chalkioikos (of the Bronze or Brazen House) most probably results from the bronze plaques bearing mythological scenes.
A few remains of the Sanctuary of Athena Chalkioikos are still preserved. The south wall consists of roughly dressed conglomerate stones. It forms an angle at its east part with another wall of the same construction. The east wall of the sanctuary is revealed further north.
The marble torso of a hoplite known as “Leonidas” was also found in the sanctuary area. In the Archaeological Museum of Sparta, there is a statue. The sculpture is of the Severe Style. It’s a work of a Laconian workshop, possibly part of a statue group assigned to the sanctuary.
The Archaic Stoa
The remains of a portico (stoa) were uncovered during the British School’s excavation at Athens in 1924-1925.
The south wall of the sanctuary of Athena Chalkioikos and the ancient theater surround them. It consisted of a wall of 11m. long forming the north side, also with a return to the west 3.50m. long.
Five poros blocks are forming the south side of the monument. A shallow sinking is thought to carry a small base for a wooden column on the upper surface. The remains of a Roman building, which intersects the stoa’s north wall, are preserved further south.
The British School’s excavation at the site brought to light a considerable amount of Geometric pottery and potsherds dated until the Roman times, spearheads, iron obeloi, various bronze objects, terracotta figurines, bone artifacts, etc.
The late Roman fortification wall
The late roman fortification wall surrounds the Acropolis Hill and the plateau of Palaiokastro. It had towers and gates, is a strong construction made of rubble, bricks, many blocks and architectural members from earlier buildings of the Acropolis and the Agora.
Not very far from Ancient Sparta ruins, but in modern Sparta, you can find what probably is the tomb of the famous king Leonidas.
Why is the Parthenon important, special and famous? The Parthenon is so special for 3 main reasons:
what it symbolized
how it was built
the many fine works of Art
What the Partheon symbolized
Why is the Parthenon important, special and famous? The Parthenon is so special because first of all is the symbol of Athens democracy. It was built after the victory on the Persians who occupied Athens in 480 BC. It was built to celebrate the victory and Athens political, economic and cultural superiority.
How it was built
The Parthenon is unique for its proportion and for the way it was built.
The Parthenon is the final result of a long course of development of the Doric order, which had began at least 250 years earlier. It is built from Pentelic marble. The precision with which the marble was worked is astonishing.
It comprises around 16500 pieces that are joined together other perfectly. Yet most impressive of all is the indiscernible deviation from a strict geometric form to create the famous optical refinements. This was made to have the desired effect.
The lines of the crepisis of the entablature curve slightly upwards rather than being straight. The shaft of the columns also have a slight convex curve which becomes narrower at 2/5 of their height.
The corner columns of each side are a little wider than all the others. All the columns have a small inclination toward the cella. These and other alterations from strict symmetry and uniformity serve to instill an additional pulse into the building.
As you can well understand it wasn’t easy to get the exact best result and effect desired. This is a demostration of the skill the Athenians had in maths and geometry.
Parthenon works of art
Why is the Parthenon important, special and famous? The Parthenon is unique for the richness and quality of its sculptures.
The Statue of Athena
The most precious statue in the Parthenon was the statue of Athena. The central part of the temple was divided in 2 sections: the eastern and the western.
The great gold and ivory statue of the goddess Athena was guarded in the eastern section. This magnificent work of art was made by the sculptor Pheidias and it was very big because it was about 13 metres tall. For all these reasons the statue of Athena was considered a masterpiece in antiquity. Unfortunately this statue is now lost.
The frieze encircled the cella externally 12 metres above its base. It has a total length of 160 metres and around a metre high. It was made by 115 bas-relief blocks with sculpture depictions of people and animals in motion represented, in a continuos way, all along the frieze.
The faces of the figures resemble each other but they have a great variety in their poses, movements and clothing. They are serious and calm, showing character, spirituality and pride. The horses of the procession are all shown in profile. Some walk quietly, others gallop, and others fight with each other. The head mane and tail give to each horse distinct individuality.
The frieze was not only well graven but also well painted with rich colours that embellished the figures.
The statues in the pediments
Really noteworthy were the statues in the pediments. The pediments are the triangular areas formed by the sloping and horizontal cornices of the roof over the two narrow ends of the temple. The colossal sculpures of the Parthenon followed a specific theme. The east pediment depicts the birth of the goddess Athena and the west part depicts the conflict between Athena and Poseidon for the possesion of Attica.
These statues were carved with the same care in the front side and on the back even if nobody would see the back of the statue. This was important because they were made as offering to the gods and they had to be perfect.
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Why is the Parthenon important: Related Posts
Why is the Parthenon important, special and famous? Related Posts:
Monastiraki is one of the most characteristics areas in Athens. Athens is an European city but for more than one aspect it doesn’t look as all the other european cities. The first time you visit Monastiraki you may wonder if you are in the right country or maybe you are in north africa or in a medioriental city.
Ermou road is the main road in Monastiraki where you can also go by car. It gets you very confused: you can find very old and abandoned houses next to trendy and crowded restaurants.
Monastiraki square Athens
But this is only one side of Monastiraki. Going straight you arrive in Monastiraki square where you have a suggestive view of the acropolis. Furthermore the square demostrates that Athens is an european city but with a strong turky influence.
From this square you have a lot of opportunities: you can easily reach the best historical attractions on foot, you can get one of the touristic buses in order to go to the best Athens destinations and last but not least there is the station where you can get the train for the airport.
Exploring the area
If you decide to explore better the area from the square, you can go in the parallel streets of Erou road: Ifestou street and Adrianou street. These 2 streets are like 2 different worlds. Ifestou street is like a Turkish souk market, instead Adrianou street is very different. It’s full of very cute greek restaurants on one side and on the other side, after the train tracks, you have the old Athens Agorà ruins and a beautiful view of the acropolis.
To be more accurate we should say that Adrianou street was built on one part of the ancient agora of Athens. Infact the big part of the ancient Athens Agora is fenced and visitable as an historical site but an undiscovered area is still under the modern city.
This is evident by the new archeological site you see by the road, by the ruins you can see in the station and by the ruins you can see in the basements af some restaurants.
Monastiraki: food and relax
After a full day visiting museums and archeological sites Monastiraki is a restouring base point. Here you can feel the greek atmosfere, listen to typical music and maybe more importantly, to taste very good food.
Good news: greek food portions are very abundant for all the hungry ones!