The Asklepion Temple was built during the 4th century BC as a private property of one of the citizens. It was a place outside the city and the temple was built around a spring which was believed to be sacred and to have healing properties. Later on, many buildings appeared for different purposes. One of them was the temple itself with a big altar devoted to Asklepius. Many people came here to pray and worship. Another building, not far from the altar, is believed to have served for pilgrims who wanted to receive the sacred dreams – the answers to their prayers while sleeping inside of the temple.
During the Hellenistic period, the library and the 3-meter high mosaic in front of the altar were built. But the latter didn’t live long and soon was destroyed, as well as some other buildings. However, the fountains were left intact and worked for several centuries ahead. During the whole time of its existence, the temple of Asklepion has constantly been changed and rebuilt. Yet, the rise and prosperity of Asklepion took place during the reign of Romans.
First, they rebuilt the place and renovated the old buildings. Romans started using the temple not only as a sacred place for the worship of gods, but also as a clinic and sanatorium. Asklepion was one of few places in the whole empire where mentally sick people were cured. Romans built a huge (for those times) road from the city to the temple. It was about 900 meters long and 18 meters wide. You can still see its remains while walking to Asklepion.
Another building of that period is the three-floor theater for 3500 guests. The temple served people for about 8 centuries till the 4th century AD. Now you can see the remains of the past greatness in Beragma – but not the most sacred part of it.
In Ancient Greece and later during the Roman Empire, Asklepion was the center for treatment of different diseases. As widely known, Ancient Greek medicine was at a very high level. Doctors cured illnesses with mud and water bathes, oils and creams. Patients were prescribed drinking holy water and herbs, or fastening. Also physio- and hydrotherapy were used. In case of need and extreme emergency, a doctor could even perform a surgery.
In present times, anyone who desires to see Asklepion can go there at any day of the week. In the winter season the sight works from 8 am till 5 pm, and in summer season from 8 am till 7 pm.
Asklepion can be well seen from the distance and from Acropolis, but you may feel the beauty of the place only when you come. First of all, walk along the ancient road as all the pilgrims and patients did. Experience the greatness of the centuries in the amphitheater. Explore the old tunnels of the temple abandoned long time ago.