The ancient theater of Epidaurus is located at the southeast end of the sanctuary dedicated to the healing god of antiquity, Asclepius, at the Asclepius of Epidaurus. It is built on the western slope of Mount Kinortios. It is located near the present-day Lygourio of Argolis and belongs to the Municipality of Epidaurus. It is considered the most ancient Greek theater in terms of acoustics and aesthetics.
The ancient theater was built by architect Polykleitos the Younger as Pausanias mentions. Pausanias admires the theater for its symmetry and beauty. With a maximum capacity of 13,000 – 14,000 spectators, the theater hosted the music, song, and drama events included in the worship of Asclepius. It was also used as a means of treating patients, as it was believed that watching dramatic performances had beneficial effects on patients` mental and physical health.
The monument today retains the typical tripartite structure of a Hellenistic theater, with a concave, orchestra, and stage structure. During Roman times the theater did not undergo any changes, like many Greek theaters
The stage building of the theater was built in two phases: the first one was built at the end of the 4th century. B.C. and the second in the middle of the 2nd century. B.C. Until today, the theater was dated by analogy with the dating of the stage structure in two phases: the first at the end of the 4th century. B.C. and the second in the middle of the 2nd century. B.C.
Its concave height is divided into two unequal sections, the lower concave or theater, and the upper theater or theater. The two sections are separated by a horizontal spectrum of spectators (1.82 m wide), the diazo. The lower part of the hollow is divided into 12 wedge sections, the stands, and the upper part into 22. The lower rows of the upper and lower hollows are in the form of the presidency, that is, they were intended for important persons. The hollow design is unique and was based on three engraving centers. Thanks to this special design, the theater`s perfect acoustics were achieved, on the one hand, and the opening to better viewing.
The center of the theater is the circular orchestra, 20 m in diameter. In its center is a circular stone slab, the base of the altar, or the thymol. The orchestra is surrounded by a special underground drainage pipe, the 1.99m wide one, which was covered by a stone circular corridor.
Opposite the hollow and behind the orchestra is the stage building of the theater. The form of the stage (which is partly preserved today) dates back to the Hellenistic period and consisted of a two-story stage structure and a stage front. The foreground had a colonnade on its front. At the forefront of the foreground were the two backdrops. To the east and west of the two backdrops, there were two small rectangular rooms for the needs of the shows. Two sloping levels led to the roof of the foreground, in the lounge where the actors later played. Finally, the theater had two majestic doors, which are now restored.