Palea Epidavros, is a small fishing village at the east coast of the Peloponnese – situated between the orange and olive groves at the foot of the mountains. The town has wonderful markets with all kinds of home-made products, from speciality bread, biscuits, olives, cheese, wine, balsamic and jams and sugared fruits! All of it available for tasting! We had a feast trying all the different stall’s produce and ended up buying some of the wonderful flavoured olive oil and balsamic vinegar!
About 30km NW of Epidavros is the spectacular ancient amphitheatre of Epidavros (the best preserved one in Greece) dates back to 4 BC and was amazing to see – the scale of it as well as the precision it was built with! This was the main reason for our stop-over at Epidavros! We took a taxi to the sight and spent about 3 hours there. Time was an issue and I am sure one can spend a whole day there if you want to see all the other excavations.
Seeing this enormous amfi-theatre was absolutely worth every moment we spent there!
The original 34 rows were extended in Roman times by another 21 rows. 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 obscured. It seats up to 15,000 people.
The theatre is known for its exceptional acoustics, which allows theatrical performers to do away with any amplifiers or microphones and can be heard perfectly when spoken in a normal tone, regardless of their seating. Famously, tour guides have their groups scattered in the stands and show them how they can easily hear the sound of a match struck at centre-stage. Climbing up to the top of the theatre seats we experienced the amazing acoustics while listening to a man testing his singing vocals. It was truly wonderful!
A 2007 study at the Georgia Institute of Technology found that the astonishing acoustic properties does not lie in the design of the seats as they initially thought it was, but in the material it was built with : The rows of limestone seats filter out low-frequency sounds, such as the murmur of the crowd, and amplify high-frequency sounds from the stage.
It became a very popular venue for music festivals and concerts throughout the Greek festival season from July till August.! There was a show on the night we were there, but we could unfortunately not leave the boat at anchor by itself, as the holding was known to be poor. Sadly though, we had to give that a miss. 🙁 An amazingly interesting experience nevertheless indeed!
A visit to the small museum was as interesting. A full, exhausting but wonderful day!