Asclepieia: The Sanctuaries of Healing in Ancient Greece
Explore some of the most important healing sanctuaries of ancient Greek antiquity and learn the secrets of healing in the ancient world.
Asclepius, the ancient god of healing, was the focal point of a cult that swept over Greece in the 5th century BC. Almost every city had an Asclepieion sanctuary dedicated to the health of its citizens through the worship of Asclepius. These sacred places were famous for their cures and thousands of people would visit them to be healed from various health problems but also mental health illnesses. They were the first holistic medical care centers, combining experimental therapeutic methods with a variety of religious and magical elements. More than 300 Asclepieia existed across the ancient Greek world, from the times of the Trojan War up to the 6th century AD. They were built in locations of great natural beauty, rich in vegetation, with thermal springs and spectacular views. Buildings such as theatres, gymnasia and hippodromes, used by patients for physical exercise and recreation, were constructed next to the buildings where physicians were practicing medicine.
Sacrifices, prayers, proper nutrition, the intake of medicinal plants, the healing power of water, hypnotherapy, physical exercise, were the main prescriptions. However ancient Greeks also believed in the therapeutic power of art. Watching musical and theatrical performances was part of the healing process, the theatre was more than a place of entertainment, it was a place of catharsis, a way to relieve anxiety and emotional stress. This holistic healing approach of the ancient Greek Asclepieia is now, more than ever appealing to the modern world! In this journey we will visit some of the most important healing sanctuaries of ancient Greek antiquity and will learn the secrets and the philosophy of healing in the ancient world. We will discover how ancient Greeks treated the body and the mind through the power of divinity, art and nature.
Key highlights of this journey:
– Sanctuary and Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus
– Tomb of Machaon, son of Asclepius and ancient healer
– Monastery of Kaltezes and presentation about Greek herbs and their traditional uses for natural healing
– Greek Olive Oil tasting in Kardamyli
– Ancient Messene
– Wine Tasting in Western Peloponnese
– Magnificent sunset over the Ionian sea
– Ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games
– Sanctuary of Nafpaktos
– Sanctuary of Delphi
Departure6 Filellinon Street, Syntagma Square
Departure TimePlease arrive by 8:15 AM for a prompt departure at 8:30 AM.
Dress CodeCasual. Comfortable athletic clothing, hiking shoes, hat, light jacket.
Day 1: Epidaurus
Day 2: The Tomb of Machaon and Olive Oil tasting in Kardamyli
Day 3: Ancient Messene and visit to a vineyard
Day 4: Ancient Olympia
Day 5: Delphi, Arachova and return to Athens
Here is a map with the places we visit during this half day tour