The theater of Epidaurus is built on a hillside of mountain Kynortion, close to Lygourio of Argolida, in the Municipality of Asklepieion.
The theater was built in two phases: the first phase dates back to the late 4th century BC and the second phase was in the middle of the 2nd century BC.
As it stands today, the theater presents the tripartite characteristic structure of the Hellenistic theaters: a hollow, orchestra and scenery.
During the first phase, at the end of the 4th century BC, the orchestra, the lower frieze -12 stands with 34 rows of seats each – and the scenery were built. The design of the hollow was carried out with the help of three engraving centers.
In the second phase, in the middle of the 2nd century BC, the hollow was extended upwards by the construction of the upper partition (22 stands with 21 rows of seats each) and the scene took its Hellenistic form.
With a maximum capacity of 13,000 to 14,000 spectators, the Epidaurus Theater was hosting musical competitions and performances of ancient drama.
The aesthetic harmony due to the regularity and the mathematical relevance of its individual sizes was combined with its excellent acoustics which allows the listeners of the highest aisles to hear even the slightest sound from the orchestra. The aesthetics and the functionality of the theater have already been highlighted since antiquity. Pausanias honors the theater of Epidaurus for his symmetry and beauty and attributes it to architect Polykleitos.
The theater was preserved in a very good condition and with the restoration interventions of P. Kavvadia (1907), A. Orlandos (1954-1963) and the Epidaurus Monument Conservation Committee (1988), has recovered – besides the scenery – almost entirely in its original form.
The monument is a pole of attraction for a large number of Greek and foreign visitors and is used to present performances of ancient drama. The first performance at the Epidaurus Theater was Sophocles’ Electra, which was performed in 1938, directed by D. Rontiris. The theatrical performances, in the framework of the organized festival, began in 1954 and from the following year they were established as an annual presentation of the ancient drama. It has been sporadically used for major musical events.