Asclepius was probably first worshipped at his birthplace in Trikka, Thessaly, Greece.
The most famous Asclepion was at Epidaurus. Other sanctuaries dedicated to Asclepius were founded at Athens, Argos, Corinth, Sparta, Megara, Messene, Olympia, Kos, Pergamon, Smyrna, Rome, and Alexandria. Just about every city with a large population had an Asclepion to safeguard the health of the populace. There was a temple to Asclepius at Augusta Treverorum (modern Trier) in Gaul, another in the Greek city of Emporion in Iberia, and altars were dedicated to him at Roman forts along Hadrian’s Wall.
Groves Foundation Meditation Room, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.A. Image source: X
Today, hospitals recognize that many of the same elements present in the Asclepion – a place to pray and worship, inspiring art and architecture, beautiful views outside the medical center – contribute to the healing of the individual.
Many hospitals have non-denominational chapels, meditation rooms, and reflective gardens to accommodate a variety of religions and personal spirituality. Wendy Cadge, in “Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine”, reports that more U.S. hospitals are replacing monotheistic chapels with neutral prayer rooms that favor images of nature, including trees and waterfalls. (p 75) The chaplain department at the medical center where I used to work posted an annual calendar with religious holidays from the monotheistic religions as well as many pagan festivals, and solicited suggestions from employees about what meaningful dates to include each year, so there was a recognition of the variety of religious expression and acknowledgement of the diverse requirements of those who might use the hospital chapel.