Ancient theater of Epidaurus in Argolis province, Greece
© George Pachantouris/Getty Image
Built to last. Ancient theater of Epidaurus, Greece
Hidden in the eastern hills of Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula, about 100 miles from Athens, lies the ancient theater of Epidaurus. Built in the 4th century BCE, this massive open-air venue, which could hold about 14,000 spectators, is known for its perfect architectural proportions. It sits alongside several ancient Greek monuments in the wider Sanctuary of Asclepius, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The theater was part of a complex dedicated to Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine, and hosted music, singing and dramatic games that were included in his worship. It has the three main features of the Greek auditoria: a circular space used as the main stage, a stage building that serves as a backdrop, and an ascending row of seats in a semi-circular shape. The theater is a feat of engineering built into the hillside with such precision that it has both perfect acoustics and optimal sight lines.
This ancient masterpiece is still in use today, occasionally hosting musical events and welcoming theatrical performances for the Epidaurus Festival each summer.