Epidauros plans

Plans of Epidauros


Epidaurus is best known today for its magnificent theatre, but in classical times it was best known as a major sanctuary of the healing god Asklepios. Many of the various buildings attached to it were essentially hotels.

The layout of the sanctuary at Epidauros, taken from Alison Burford’s book.

The earliest building is the rectangular building E, to the left, built in the 430s and acting as the headquarters of the new cult, being both a temple and an incubation centre where people could sleep and receive dreams about their cure.

Then in the 370s the great temple G was built, with its altar F lying some distance away and not on the alignment. Very close to it was the main sleeping quarter or Abaton, marked P, but with the earlier bathhouse D attached to it.

To the right, K is the circular tholos. It has been suggested, though without any real evidence, that this was the snake house where the sacred snake was kept, a snake being an important part of the cult.

Building C at the top was an Artamition, or temple to Artemis.

This plan is at a larger scale: note that North is at the bottom,  as in the upper plan.

This  shows the other buildings that form the sanctuary complex.  At the top (South) building L is the Theatre which Plutarch said was built by the architect Polykleitos  who  was also the architect of the Temple, so it was presumably contemporary with the Temple in the 370s. Coming down, building S is the Katagogeion, or hostel for the visitors,  spread around four courts.

Building R are the baths, T the gymnasion, while U is the palaestra or exercise ground.

Note that the older buildings of the sanctuary of Apollo are half a mile away on the higher ground to the left.


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