Petra's theatre dates from the 1st century AD/CE. The Romans had not taken control at that time although there were strong trading links between the Nabateans and the Roman empire.
The tiers of seating could hold more than 8000 people, a fact which gives a clear indication of just how populous and wealthy a city Petra was 2000 years ago. Everything apart from the staging itself was carved out of the cliffside...a stupendous task given the technology of the day. Much of the staging was damaged during an earthquake in 363, though some of it has been recently restored.
Most of the seating has been heavily eroded by time and weather but that in itself has added to the beauty of the site, for the reds, oranges and purples of the sandstone have been more fully exposed.
As you proceed further down the canyon, beyond the Al Khazneh you will get to see also the amphitheatre, it says it has Roman influence but the unique in this particular one is the fact that it was built into the rock and not by bringing rocks and stones to build it.
The Theatre was carved into the side of the mountain at the foot of the High Place of Sacrifice during the reign of King Aretas IV (9BC-40AD). It consists of three rows of seats separated by passageways and seven stairways ascend the auditorium and can accommodate 4000 spectators. The back wall of the stage was rebuilt by the Romans.
Petra's theater is cut out of solid rock, and badly deteriorated. The front of the theater, including most of the stage was badly damaged by floods.
The Theater Square lies beyond the Street of Facades. The next main monument as you pass along the road into the heart of the city of Petra is the Theater up ahead on the left.
Some of the facades are badly damaged, and flood deposits have filled many of them with mud.
Some of the canyon walls are lined with dozens of smaller tombs for the not-so-rich.
Across from the Street of Facades are tombs high on the mountain. You can scramble up the mountain at a place across from the stairs up to the High Place.
You can watch my 2 min 35 sec HD Video Jordan Petra part 6 out of my Youtube channel.
The Theatre is located to the left, just past the Street of facades.
I climbed the 33 tiers and the view was sensational. (I only regret that I had handed the camera bag to Anne to hold.) I really got a feeling for what the 3,000 spectators would have seen as the residents of Petra went about their daily lives hundreds of years earlier.
The theatre is carved out of the entire mountain side and must have taken years to finish. The stage area has a magnificent backdrop and I can’t help but wonder if the entertainment was people dressed in costumes, acting out their roles, or if people were “put to the sword” for the pleasure of the crowd!
Petra's theater was built by the Nabataeans in the I century BC. It had a capacity for 4,000 people. When Romans conquered the city, the theater was enlarged and its capacity reached 7,000 people. An earthquake damaged it in the IV century AD.
Thought to have been built in the 1st century BC and carved out of the rock, the Theatre had an original capacity of about 3000. This was increased by the Romans in AD 106 to about 8500. The Theatre was damaged in an earthquake in AD 363, however a lot of the rows are intact & it's a fascinating place to visit.
In the first century BC, the Nabataeans carved a 3000 seater theater out of the red sandstone. After the Romans took over the city, they carved out even more seats, leaving today a vast 7000 capacity theater of pure stone. Opposite the theater are some beautiful little carved caves that you can easily climb up to for great views.
As I dont have all my historical notes with me at the moment, this is more of a piccie tip! As you can see its beautiful, its huge and as is the rest of Petra this masterpiece is made of Sandstone too!
Walk past the Necropolis - the wadi continues to open out, giving broader vistas of the sweep of the city. To you left is the Amphitheatre - referred to as the Necropolis Amphitheatre as a result of its closeness to the Necropolis. When first excavated, it was believed to hold 3500 people. More recent excavations show that its almost triple this figure and is now estimated at 8000 people. Incredibly, the seating area (cavea) and 25 metre wide 'orchestra' is carved/hewn stright out of the rock - and there are 45 rows in the cavea... The stage area itself is an extraordinary 54 metres wide, but little of the two storey high pulpitum remains.
There is some debate about the age. Originally, it was believed to have been built by the Romans in 106 AD. But there's now a train a thought that it is 200-300 years older and built by the Nabateans themselves.
Immediately beyond the street of facades is the ancient theatre that one seated over 5000 people. Erosion damaged the steps but the vibe is cool and you can imagine what the site must have looked like thousands of years ago. You can access both sides of the theatre by going up narrow passageways. The theatre was supposed to date from the Roman period but archaeologists now believe it dates from the 1st century. Great place.
The small theatre is right at the end of the Street of Facades , before you come to the large open area leading to the Roman ruins.
It is a typical amphitheatre with rows of step/seats in a semi circle. there are underground passages where the actors could change and move from one place to another.
The Amphitheatre was constructed it is believed around the time of Christ. It was originally thought the Romans built it at a later date, but this has now been discounted.
It holds 8000 people, and includes store rooms under the stage plus a slot where curtains could be lowered at the beginning of a performance.
This amphitheatre was constructed in the 1st Century and it could seat 3000 people. The Romans enlarged it to seat 7000 spectators. The theater is cut out of solid rock, and badly deteriorated. Concerts are still sometimes (not often) held at this location despite its run down state.
If you walk 100 metres from the Necropolis you find in front of you the nice Theatre. It was build by Aretas IV (6 BC - 40 AD) and it was restored by Malichos II (40-70 AD). It is carve in the rock and inside it could seat more than 3000 people. During the Roman (106 AD) it was modify and over 7000 people could seat.