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The great Theatre
Favorite thing: The most magnificent structure in Ephesus ancient city, the great Theatre is located on the slope of Panayir Hill, opposite the Harbor Street, and easily seen when entering from the south entrance to Ephesus. It was first constructed in the Hellenistic Period, in the third century BC during the reign of Lysimachos, but then during the Roman Period, it was enlarged and formed its current style that is seen today.
Being the largest in Anatolia, the theatre has the capacity of 25,000 seats. The cavea has sixty six rows of seats, divided by two diazoma (walkway between seats) into three horizontal sections. There are three sections of seats. In the lower section, Marble pieces, used for restoration, and the Emperor's Box were found. The seats with backs ,made of marble, were reserved for important people. The audience entered from the upper cavea.
The stage building is three-storied and 18 meters high. The facade facing the audience was ornamented with relieves, columns with niches, windows and statues. There are five doors opening to the orchestra area, the middle one of which is wider than the rest. This enhanced the appearance of the stage, giving it a bigger, monumental look.
The theatre was used not only for concerts and plays, but also for religious, political and philosophical discussions and for gladiator and animal fights.
Fondest memory: This monumental masterpiece of Ephesus
- Historical Travel
The Mascots of Ephesus
Favorite thing: We saw cats everywhere. They were in the ancient temples and on the streets. They were in the theatre and the library. They were everywhere! It must have been breeding season.
Here's the tip: Think twice before petting them. I saw a tick on one of them.
The BIG Theatre
Favorite thing: Crowds were hard to handle everywhere in the world, and regardless of the time. It was very usual to make civilization by telling stories in theater, later developing what is now known as a play. People gathered, sorted by classes, stayed some time full days and listen to the 'actors'.
Every time I'm in an amphiteater I feel the history coming in on me.
- Historical Travel
The Great Theatre
Favorite thing: This is one of the most impressive buildings at Ephesus. From the top you can have a wonderful view of the site and in clear days even see the coast.
The sea was much closer 2 centuries ago (Ephesus was a sea port) but the shoreline changed with the years and now is a huge plain, a long distance to the shore.
It was built at the time of Lysimachos. In 41-54 AD the diameter of the theatre was enlarged. The first two stories of the stage (skene) were erected during the Emperor Nero's reign (54-68 AD). Work continued throughout the reign of Trajan (98-117 AD), and the third storey was probably not completed until the middle of the 2nd century.
It still functions as a theatre for concerts. There is good visibility from all locations, as the incline of the seating increases with each level.
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Ephesus Travel Guide
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