Moving forward the best part of 1000 years, and from one UNESCO World Heritage site to another. Epidaurus. Probably the most celebrated healing centre in the classical world. The Asklepieion is huge, far larger than the one in Bergama. Most fascinating in the museum was the marble boards listing names, case histories, treatments and cures of various patients. This includes fairly realistic descriptions of some surgical procedures. There were also some really impressive pieces of sculpture.
The prosperity brought by the healing and cult centre enabled the construction of the theatre, which is the finest and most acoustically perfect of all Hellenistic theatres. It is still used though there were no performances there whilst we were staying in the area. Had there been anything staged, we would have tried to get tickets.
We got to hear people testing out the acoustics, bits of amateur impromptu performances. The acoustics are remarkable. At one point we were sat right at the rear and could clearly hear everything being said on the floor. It is said that seated anywhere in the theatre it is easy to hear a match being struck on the stage. We also heard what we thought was a kitten in the bushes behind us. Both of us were utterly convinced we were hearing a kitten, until we located the source – a jay sitting in a bush.
Again we were fortunate. We picked a day when a cruise ship was not disgorging tourists and shipping them around the area. There were a few tourists, a few small buses, but nowhere near as packed as we thought it would be.