The ancient Asclepieion at Trikala in Thessaly, one of the most important healing temples of the Greek empire, will be restored, the Ministry of Culture announced on Wednesday.
The Asclepieion, devoted to the God Asclepius, was the place where people from all over Greece used to look for healing treatments in antiquity.
Asclepius was said to have been such a skilled doctor that he could even raise people from the dead. His legendary healing powers would bring pilgrims flocking to temples built in his honor in order to seek spiritual and physical healing.
Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni stated that “in the city of Trikala, in Ancient Trikki, there was one of the oldest and most famous (temples) in the entire ancient world, Asclepieion.”
Asclepieia included carefully controlled spaces conducive to healing, and fulfilled several of the requirements of institutions created for healing. Treatment at these temples largely centered around promoting healthy lifestyles, with a particular emphasis on a person’s spiritual needs.
Greek healing temple in the ancient city of Trikki
The Asclepieion was located in the Ancient Trikki, parts of which were revealed as early as the end of the 19th century, as the modern city of Trikala was being built on the same site.
Ancient Trikki, an important city of the Thessalian tetrarchy of Estiaotida, sprawled between the Lithaios river – which still crosses today’s modern city – and the hill “Kastro” where probably the ancient citadel was.
The earliest mention of Trikki is in the Homeric List of Ships, which mentions that the city participated in the expeditionary force of the Greeks in the Trojan War with 30 ships, and leaders including the two sons of Asclepius, Mahaonas and Podalerios, who had been taught medicine by their father.
The connection of the city with Asclepius – the antiquity of the city was known as «αρχαιότατον και επιφανέστατον» (“ancient and prominent”) according to the geographer of the 1st century. B.C. Strabo – gave Trikki a special cachet in Greece.
The earliest confirmed excavation of the city dates back to the Bronze Age and is located in the area of the present archaeological site of Trikala.
Excavations have uncovered ceramics indicating that the western slopes of the ancient acropolis had been inhabited since the Early Bronze Age (3300 BC) until the Mycenaean era.
They also brought to light three buildings of early Roman times and one belonging to the Byzantine period.