HISTORICAL CONCEPTIONS OF A HEALTHY CITY: THE GREEK PARADIGM

Sophia Chatzicocoli, Athena Christina Syrakoy

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26687/archnet-ijar.v3i1.250

Abstract

Today much attention is being given to the concept of a “healthy city”. However, the need for incoming paradigms is needed since this concept is still developing both as a term and as a real experience. The study of the historical experiences and examples can enrich the understanding of a healthy city’s historical background and can help in learning from the past. Especially the Greek paradigm appears of a particular importance as the idea of the creation of healthy cities seems to be central in the Hellenic (Greek) culture, the first anthropocentric culture developed in Europe, which is perceived to form the base of the so called Western Civilization. The conceptions of a healthy city were supported by the Hellenic Mythology, Philosophy, Art and Science. The principles of the planning and design of healthy cities were expressed through various applications concerning the Greek cities and, especially, through the creation of specific settlements devoted to the restoration of health, such as Asklepieia. Asklepieia were centres of worship of the hero, divine physician and healing god, Asklepios and became the first health care centres in Europe. Asklepieia offered their healing environment and services for many centuries in the then Hellenic territory, from the pre-historic era and the War of Troy though out the Classical, Hellenistic and Roman times to the early-Byzantine times until the total prevalence of Christianity. In Asklepieia the restoration of health was understood as a result of positive interaction of physical, psychological, mental, spiritual, social, environmental, etc, factors.


Keywords

Healthy cities; Greek Mythology; Greek history; Asklepieia

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