Ligourio is a small town in Argolida region located 24 km northeast of its capital, the city of Nafplion, and is the closest settlement on the way to the Asklepion sanctuary, 2.5 km away from it.
Being one of the largest provincial cities of Argolida, Ligourio is also the administrative center of the municipality of Epidaurus, comfortably located at the foot of Mount Arachneu (Arnas).
The special geographical position, as well as the picturesque landscapes, combined with ancient and modern monuments, make Ligourio very popular destination with.
There are about 50 churches and chapels in Ligourio and the surroundings, 12 of which date back to the Byzantine era.
The existence of the Ancient Theater in Epidaurus played a huge role in the formation of interest in art and culture among the inhabitants of Ligourio, which was reflected in the rich program of cultural events held here throughout the year.
In the summer months, Ligourio becomes a favorite meeting place with more than a million people visiting the Asklepion sanctuary, the Ancient Theater and the Epidaurus Festival.
Since ancient times, Ligourio people have been cultivating olives, apricots, as well as gardening and animal husbandry. Its famous virgin olive oil is protected today by European geographical indication.
The population of Ligourio, including the surrounding villages of St. Andrew, Gianouleika, Kokkinades, Spilia, Stamateika, Hani Mercury and Hundaleika, is a total of approximately 3.131 people.
History and Archeology
The history of Ligourio, from ancient times to the present days, is directly related to the history of Nafplion. Despite the dominance of the Franks, Venetians and Ottomans, the town retained its originality and uniqueness.
For many centuries, Ligourio was constantly inhabited, as evidenced by extant fragments and ruins of monuments of those times. So, in the area of Barracks, between Nafplion and Ligourio, one of the 3 oldest European stone bridges of the Mycenaean period (1400-1200 BC) remained in excellent condition.
The remains of the Acropolis walls of Ancient Lissa were preserved on the 8th kilometer of the Nafplion - Ligourio road, where an ancient royal burial was discovered several decades ago.
In addition, the area has preserved an ancient hiking trail leading from the Asklepion sanctuary to Ligourio and Epidaurus.
During excavations, in the eastern part of the settlement, near the church of St. John the Merciful, traces of a complex of bathhouses of the late Roman period were found.
In the town of Strofilo, near the church of St. Marina, there are ruins of the so-called Ligourio Pyramid, which Pausanias mentioned. The chronology and purpose of this structure have become the subject of controversy among archaeologists (both Greek and foreign). The prevailing opinion is that the building was erected before the end of the 4th century and served as an outpost to protect the road from Argos to Epidaurus.
In the Paligourio region, on the eastern side of Mount Arachneu, there are numerous historical monuments from the Mycenaean era (the fortress and burial rooms carved into the rock - tombs), the ancient times (the ruins of the Temple of Hera) and the Middle Ages (churches).
The Museum of Natural History of the collector Vasilisa Kotsiomita was founded in 1993 by a married couple of Kotsiomita. In the exhibition halls of the Museum, you can admire paleontological rarities: fossils, a rich collection of minerals, mollusk shells and insects - specimens from Greece and around the world, whose age ranges from 3,000,000 to 530,000,000 years. A beautiful exposition tells the story of their origin.
Of great interest is the entomological exposition, which includes a large collection of well-known and little-known species of insects, as well as a rich collection of corals and shells and a collection of tools that were used in ancient times. The museum is open daily except Monday.
7 early Christian churches have survived in the Ligourio region, as well as significant number of Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches
The oldest church in the region is the Church of St. John the Merciful (St. Constantine), dating from the end of the XI - the beginning of the XII century, which is located on the south-eastern outskirts of the city. The church was built on the site of an earlier Byzantine basilica.
Three kilometers from Ligourio, on the old road to Ancient Epidaurus, there is the Church of St. John the Theologian, fragments of the walls of which date back to the first half of the 11th century, while the church building itself, which has survived to this day, was erected during the second Venetian occupation (1685-1715).
On the old town square is the church of the Assumption of the Virgin (Panagitsa) of the post-Byzantine era, built in 1701.
On the northwestern edge of the settlement is the church of St. Marina with frescoes from the beginning of the 18th century. It is noteworthy that in the masonry of the wall there are fragments of ancient temples.
The small basilica of St. Athanasius on the top of a small hill, southwest of Ligourio, with a commemorative inscription at the entrance to the temple, indicating the completion of its reconstruction on August 6, 1622, is also impressive.
You can also visit the old monastery of St. Mercury of the XVII century, with magnificent frescoes, hidden in a gorge, in the town of Avlos (5 kilometers south of Ligourio), as well as a small basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin in Koroni, XVII-XVIII centuries.
The parish church of Ligourio since 1920 is the Holy Trinity Church, while many other small churches and chapels built in the 19th and 20th centuries are scattered throughout the area.