Acropolis - Theatre Of Dionysus, Athens
The Theater of Dionysos is carved from the southern slope of the Acropolis Hill.
The most direct way of getting there is from the pedestrian street Dionysiou Aeropagitou, across from the New Acropolis Museum. You can also reach the Theater of Dionysos by stone steps leading down the hill from the Acropolis, on the south of the main entrance.
A wooden theater first existed in this location, built in the 6th century BC; the stone theater was built in the 4th century BC. I was truly excited to think that the famous ancient Greek tragedies of Sophocles and others were first shown in this very spot where I was standing. Works by Sophocles, Aristophanes, Aeschylus and others were commissioned for the famous Dionysia Festival, an annual 5 day theatrical contest.
You can see the stage, with a front depicting scenes from Dionysos' life, and the seats, with impressive front row seats reserved for VIPs.
When you lift up your gaze towards the Acropolis (and read your guidebook...) you realized that in ancient times the theater extended over the whole slope of the hill, evidence for the central place it held in ancient Greek society and culture.
The Theatre of Dionysus was a major open air theatre in ancient Greece, built at the foot of the Athenian Acropolis and forming part of the temenos of "Dionysus Eleuthereus". Dedicated to Dionysus, the god of plays and wine, the theatre could seat as many as 17,000 people, making it an ideal location for ancient Athens' biggest theatrical celebration, the Dionysia. It became the prototype for all theatres of ancient Greece.
It was the first stone theatre ever built — cut into the southern cliff face of the Acropolis — and the birthplace of Greek tragedy. The remains of a restored and redesigned Roman version can still be seen at the site today.
When you visiting the Acropolis, then it is not far to visit the Theatre of Dionysus. You can do it with the ticket of Acropolis. The same ticket is valid in here too, as they said us, the ticket is valid 4 days. All this place is full the feel of history. It is good place to sit for the moment and cogitate about Acropolis and about the theatre ...
I was sitting in there too, and then I hear, somebody was whistle continuously. When I look, what happened, then I detect the woman, who was brandish in the direction of me ... I understood, that I was sitting on the wrong place, where there wasn't permission to sit ;) ... so it is with these ancient things - you can look but not touch :)
The THEATRE OF DIONYSOS, named after Dionysus, son of Zeus, is the most important building on the southern slope of the Acropolis. It is the place where the famous tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripedes and the comedies of Aristophanes were first performed in the 5th century B.C. The irregular shape of the theatre is a consequence of the site restrictions. Fourteen staircases divide the auditorium into thirteen Cunei (segments). The rows of seats consist of large carved blocks of limestone. The most elaborate seat in the middle was reserved for the priest of Dionysos.
To the south of the Acropolis is the Temple of Dionysos and next to it is the Theatre of Dionysos. The orchestra at the Theatre of Dionysos was the main orchestra of Athens. The tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and the comedies of Aristophanes and Menandros were presented here.