Ancient Epidavros: The Theater and Sanctuary of Asklipious Page 4
The builder was Polykleitos the Younger, Argive architect, responsible for the harmonious proportions (which observe the 'golden mean') and beautiful lines of this most impressive of theaters worldwide. Its setting too is a major factor in its beauty, sitting on the north slope of Mt Harani and facing the sacred Aslipian valley (above). It seats 14,000 spectators and in shape constitutes more than half of a semicircle. There are 55 rows of seats divided by a promenade. The seats for notables and those for ordinary folk were of red or white limestone, respectively. It is most famous feature is its perfect acoustical properties, whereby the slightest sound is heard without any distortion from the stage to the top back corner at the top of the many terraces-an upward distance of 22.50meters/74feet. Similarly, the performance can also be seen perfectly from any seat in the theater (assuming one has good eyes). The circular orchestra is 20.28 meters/63 feet in diameter., with the base of an altar toDionysos in the center. The floor of the stage is of beaten earth. This is where the chorus performed. There is even a channel for runoff of rainwater (between the orchestra and the first row of seats). Double doorways are at the entrance to the theater, with pilasters with Corinthian capitals.
The theater is the best-preserved theater in Greece as well as one of the best-preserved Classical buildings.
The Epidavros museum near the theater is open during summer Mon 12noon to 7pm, Tues-Sun 8am-7pm; in winter it closes at 5pm; the entrance fee is included in the price of the site ticket).
Visiting it first deepens appreciation of the site. The medical cures are shown here in chronological progression as well as tablets that record outstanding or miraculous cures, and finally, advanced surgical instruments.
Also displayed are Corinthian and Ionic columns, Roman statuary, sculpture , reconstructions from the Temple of Asklipios, pavement of the Tholos.