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05/02/2008

Ancient Gortyna

University of Peloponnisos


Ancient Gortyna
(Photo: Prefectural Administration of Arkadia)

Ancient Gortyna was one of the most important ancient cities of Arcadia, known as a place of worship and a therapeutic centre in the entire Greek world. Although there is not much evidence establishing the existence of the city, several scholars place it in the second half of the second millennium BC. It reached its highest peak during classical times (4th century BC), due to its position, on the way to Olympia. The visitor can admire the temple of Asclepios and many baths. The baths were using hot air technology in order to be heated and could serve 30 people simultaneously. Alexander the Great also visited this area and devoted his suit of armour and his spear to the gods. Pausanias visited the city when it was declining, and he indicated that the statue of Asclepios and Ygeia, made of marble still existed, as well as Alexander’s offerings. The city was gradually abandoned in the early Christian times. Excavations have brought to light sections of the ancient city and the temple of Asclepios, parts of the baths, rooms and the city walss. Many ancient offerings to the gods of healing have been also found. Ancient Gortyna is situated at the banks of Lousios river and can be accessed from the villages Elliniko, Atsiholos, and the Monastery of Prodromos.

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