Atlantis of the Peloponnese

Ancient Epidaurus is primarily linked to the cult of healer god Asclepius – the deity that marked the region of Argolis as a haven for body and mind. The sites devoted to Asclepius collectively established Epidaurus as the birthplace of Medicine in the greco-roman world. [1]

Ten miles east to Asclepius’s hinterland, in the serene waters of Aghios Vlassis bay, a secret has been kept well since the roman times: the “Sunken City”, or as sometimes referred to by the locals, the Atlantis of Argolis. Following a period of relative water stability that spanned over two millennia, the town of Epidaurus eventually started sinking in the 5th century AD [2]

The Villa

Extensive underwater excavation and restoration works in the area have revealed the “Villa of the Dolia”, a type of Villa Rustica that took its name from the earthenware vases found in the warehouses.

The submerged complex dates back to the 3rd century AD, when the affluent Romans built big farmhouses on the seafront. The villa features three main sections: the urbana or main residence, the agricultural center and the farming area [3]. In the central and northwestern section of the house the productive activities were hosted, and hence the dolia which probably served for the storage of wine.

The villa is found less than 100 feet from the Kalymnios beach, and its naturally preserved sections are clearly visible with snorkel masks.

Typology of the Villa Rustica Romana

Get an aftertaste

No day-visit to Argolis would be complete without a taste of the regional delicacies: try the light-fried pitta with different fillings, the oven-baked Boghana lamb assorted with goat strained yoghurt and, of course, the orange pies made exclusively of the regional oranges.

Intrigued? Let us take you on a tour to the celebrated sites of Argolis.

Words by Yannis Zaras
Contributor: Carlo De Domenico

Endnotes

[1] http://odysseus.culture.gr/h/3/eh351.jsp?obj_id=2374 , retrieved 25/06/20

[2] Pettriaggi B., Galiatsatou, P., Medaglia, S. “The Submerged Villa of the Dolia near ancient Epidaurus. The preliminary results of the first excavation and conservation campaign”, Annuario della Scuola Archeologica di Atene e delle Missioni Italiane in Oriente 97, 2019.

[3] Rizakis A. 2013, “Rural structures and agrarian strategies in

Greece under the Roman Empire”, A.D. Rizakis – I. Tourat-
soglou (eds.), Villae Rusticae, Family and Market-Oriented

Farms in Greece under Roman Rule, Proceedings of an interna-
tional congress held at Patrai, 23-24 April 2010, Athens, 20-51.

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