Photographer's Note

Epidavros (Epidaurus) became very well known because of asclepeion, (6th century BC) the celebrated healing center of the Classical world, the place where ill people went in the hope of being cured.

The prosperity brought by the asclepeion enabled Epidaurus to construct civic monuments, including the huge theatre on display here, the biggest classical theatre of the world.

It was designed by Polykleitos the younger in the 4th century BC. The original 34 rows were extended in Roman times by another 21 rows. It seats up to 14,000 people. As is usual for Greek theatres (and as opposed to Roman ones), the view on a lush landscape behind the stage is an integral part of the theatre itself and is not to be obstructed. The systematic excavation was started in 1881 by the archeologist Panagioti Kavvadia.

It's assumed that the harmonious proportions and symmetry of the Epidavros theare led the Roman architect Vitruvius to use it as an example in his famous books on architecture.

The edifice has exceptional acoustics which permit almost perfect intelligibility of the unamplified spoken word. A 2007 study of the Georgia Institute of Technology indicated that these acoustic properties may have been the result of the design: the rows of limestone seats filter out low-frequency sounds, such as the murmur of the crowd, and amplify the mid-high-frequency sounds from the stage.

The people visiting the theatre are generally very much aware of these acoustics…. While we were high up in the theatre, a school class was reciting some indeed intelligible texts. I went downstairs and went to the stage too and started to clap rhythmically to check out the stage-acoustics. Some boys of the aforementioned school class joined in the clapping and a short while after that, a girl started to do a Flamengo tap dance to the rhythm.

Ir was one of the many impromptu micro performances, the ancient stage saw that summer day.

A lager version is: here.

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Additional Photos by Bert Hoetmer (bertolucci) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1928 W: 122 N: 4345] (14052)
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