Pinsteps. The Asclepieion, Acropolis
Places to visit in Athens. Languages: en

The Asclepieion, the sanctuary of the god Asclepios and his daughter Hygieia, the personification of "Health", is located to the west of the Theatre of Dionysos, between the Acropolis and the Peripatos, i.e. the road which used to surround it. The Sanctuary was founded in 420/19 B.C. by an Athenian citizen from the deme of Acharnai named Telemachos. The founding of the Asclepieion is recorded in the Telemachos Monument, a votive stele consisting of a narrow shaft, crowned by two slabs with relief panels, which commemorate the arrival of the god in Athens from the Sanctuary of Epidaurus and present him in his new residence at the sanctuary on the South Slope of the Acropolis. A copy of the Monument of Telemachos is exhibited today in the Doric stoa of the sanctuary.

Entrance from the Peripatos to the two courts of the sanctuary was made through a monumental entrance (propylon), which, according to epigraphic sources, was renovated in Roman times. The eastern court, which was entered through a porch at the western side, included the temple and altar of the god as well as two stoas, the so-called Doric Stoa at the north side and the so-called Roman Stoa at the south side, which was added in the roman period, to accommodate the ever-increasing pilgrims to the sanctuary. The Doric Stoa served as an incubation hall for the visitors to the Asclepieion, who stayed there overnight and were miraculously cured by the god, who appeared in their dreams. The lonic stoa (Katagogion), the most important building of the western court, served as a guest-house and refer- tory for the priests and the visitors to the shrine.

The Temple of Asclepios is a building of the 1st century B.C., with a two-column in antis façade and a small cella, which, according to Pausanias, who visited Athens in the 2nd century A.D., housed the statues of Asklepios and his children. In the 3rd century A.D., it was expanded eastwards to create a four-column façade with a wider pronaos.

The Doric Stoa, a two-storey building with a façade of 17 Doric columns, was built in 300/299 B.C., as epigraphical testimonies attest. The stoa integrated into its eastern part the Sacred Spring, i.e. a small cave with a spring in the Acropolis rock since water has always been a significant element in the cult of Asclepios and into its western part the Sacred Bothros, which functioned as a sacrificial pit. The Sacred Bothros was well-built with polygonal masonry in the mezzanine floor of the stoa. It is dated earlier than the stoa, to the last quarter of the 5th century B.C. In this part of the sanctuary took place the Heroa, i.e. the sacrifices to the chthonian dei- ties and the Heroes.

The lonic Stoa is also dated to the last quarter of the 5th century B.C. It was a one-storey building with four rooms and an arcade with ten ionic columns of excellent quality.

In the 6th century A.D., when Christianity replaced paganism, all the buildings in the Asklepieion were integrated into the complex of a large three-aisled Early Christian basilica. In the Byzantine period (11th and 13th centuries), two smaller, single-aisle churches were erected on the basilica site. The last one probably functioned as the catholicon of a small monastery.

After 2002, the west part of the Doric Stoa's ground floor, the Sacred Bo- throws, and the temple of Asklepios were partly restored.


Pictures uploaded by @Evgeny Praisman
Routes
List of routes including this place
Evgeny Praisman
Athens: walking through history. My trip to Athens on Feb 11, 2023

A walking trip through the streets of Athens can be a fantastic way to dive into the rich history of this ancient city. Here is a trial that explores some of the most exciting sites in Athens:

  1. Start at Athina Avenue and head towards Monastiraki Street. This lively street is lined with shops and street vendors selling various goods, including souvenirs, clothing, and jewellery.

  2. Take a stroll down the lane and enjoy the sights and sounds of the bustling marketplace. From Monastiraki Street, continue to the Plaka neighbourhood, one of the oldest and most charming neighbourhoods in Athens. The Plaka is known for its narrow, winding streets, picturesque houses, and traditional Greek tavernas. Visit the old house of the Venizelos family, a historic building once the home of the famous Greek politician Eleftherios Venizelos.

  3. From the Plaka, head up to the Anafiotika district, a charming neighbourhood built on the slopes of the Acropolis. Here you can visit some of the most delicious restaurants in Athens, offering traditional Greek cuisine and breathtaking views of the city.

  4. After exploring the Anafiotika district, make your way to the southern slope of the Acropolis, where you can see the ruins of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Theatre of Dionysus.

  5. End your walking trip by visiting the Areopagus and Pnyx Hills, two historic sites located just outside the city centre. The Areopagus Hill was once a seat of the judicial court in ancient Athens and is also associated with the spread of Christianity into Greece. Pnyx Hill was the location of the assembly of the people, where citizens gathered to discuss and vote on important political matters. From these two hills, you will see breathtaking views of the city in the sunset and gain a deeper understanding of its rich history and cultural heritage.

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Evgeny Praisman (author)
Здравствуйте! Меня зовут Женя, я путешественник и гид. Здесь я публикую свои путешествия и путеводители по городам и странам. Вы можете воспользоваться ими, как готовыми путеводителями, так и ресурсом для создания собственных маршрутов. Некоторые находятся в свободном доступе, некоторые открываются по промо коду. Чтобы получить промо код напишите мне сообщение на телефон +972 537907561 или на epraisman@gmail.com и я с радостью вам помогу! Иначе, зачем я всё это делаю?
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