NEWS

Sanctuary of Asclepius on the Acropolis due for first restoration work

The Sanctuary of Asclepius, an ancient healing center situated in between the Odeon of Herod Atticus, the Thrassyllos monument and the Theater of Dionysus, may have been famous in its day but is little known to the general public nowadays. The sanctuary was discovered in 1876 by Stefanos Koumanoudis, but no restoration work was ever carried out. The podium was all that was thought to have remained of the sanctuary until 1993, when workers breaking up a pile of stones on the Acropolis revealed hitherto unknown material. Altogether, 428 architectural pieces and another 1,100-1,200 fragments have been found, archaeologist Alexandros Mantis told the Central Archaeological Council (KAS) in February. The Athenians build their own Asclepium when the Peloponnesian War prevented them from visiting the sanctuary in Epidaurus. Made of Pendelic marble in 420 BC, the temple was long and narrow, measuring 6×10 meters. The statue of the god was kept at the back, with various votive offerings suspended beside it. Restoration work will begin with the podium and the uprights for the walls of the nave. Some sections will not be restored at all. The two-volume study by Rozalia Christodoulopoulou proposes using 44 percent ancient material. If all goes well, restoration work should be completed and the walls raised to a height of 2 meters within a year. Master technician Vassilis Anastasias and architect Manolis Korres were responsible for finding two sections of marble, one bearing an inscription which is now in the Epigraphical Museum, and which may be from the doorframe.