The Asclepieion, the sanctuary of the god
Asclepios and his daughter Hygieia, the personification of "Health", is located
to the west of the Theatre of Dionysos, between the Peripatos, the ancient road
which surrounded the Acropolis, and the Acropolis rock itself. The sanctuary was
founded in the year 420/19 BC by an Athenian citizen from the deme of Acharnai,
The Asclepieion consisted of a small temple, an altar and two halls: the Doric
Stoa (abaton), which served as an incubation hall for the visitors to the
Asclepieion, who stayed there overnight and were miraculously cured by the god
who appeared in their dreams, and the Ionic Stoa, which served as a katagogion,
a guest- house used by the visitors to the shrine and the priests.
The remains of the temple of Asclepios at the
time of the first excavation on the site by the Archaeological Society in 1876,
were preserved only to the level of the foundation. Pausanias, who visited the
temple in the 2nd century AD, noted the statues of the god and his children,
which were kept inside the temple. The architectural members of the monument,
which were lying in the area of the sanctuary since the time of the first
excavation of the Asclepieion, were collected, thoroughly studied, and ascribed
to the temple, providing us, on one hand with important information about the
initial form and the construction phases of the monument, and on the other hand
with options for its reconstruction. According to the restoration project of the
temple, 30 architectural members of the lower part of its walls are to return to
their original position.
A very important element of the
architectural composition of the temple is the marble doorframe, of ionic order,
with rich relief decoration referring to the Ionic door frame of the Erechtheion.
The doorframe of the temple of Asclepios was reconstructed from numerous
fragments found in the area of the sanctuary. The search for the rest of the
architectural members of the monument will continue, in order to reconstruct
parts of the walls, the doorframe and the columns of the east facade.