The biggest construction remaining in Ephesus, and the most impressive after the Library is the great theatre.
Built under Greek influence, it was enlarged and transformed by the Romans, an, despite the effects of time and earthquakes, it still impresses by its size and wise conception, integrated in the hills.
Great is an understatement! This massive 25,000 capacity theatre dominates your eyes after entering through the northern entrance and is one Ephesus' most famous sights. It's located on the slope of Panayir Hill and used to overlook the harbour via Harbour Street. It was first constructed in the Hellenistic Period, in the third century BC during the reign of Lysimachos, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, but, then during the Roman Period, was enlarged and formed its current structure that is seen today.
It is the largest in Anatolia and has sixty six rows of seats, divided by two diazoma (walkway between seats) into three horizontal sections making 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 was three-storied and 18 meters high. The facade facing the audience was ornamented with reliefs, 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.
Built mostly under the Roman emperors Claudius (first century AD) and Trajanus (second century), this theater could seat 25,000. This was the scene of the dramatic confrontation between St Paul and the followers of Artemis. Archeologists continue to unearth parts of it.
The sound is phenomenal; I was standing near the top row of seats, when a Christian choir began singing. It sounded like they were just a few feet away. They just don't build them like this any more.
This has been unearted year by year continuously. The last building alterations were done in 98 - 117 A.D The teatre had a capacity of 25,000 spectators with 22 flights of stairs, each set by three circular rows. The theatre has a diametre of 50m.
Most of the stone stair seats were carried away to be used in other constructions.
Make sure that you go here and have a look. Just go and sit in the steep Stand, and imagine what it would have been like amongst 24,999 other people! Imagine what it would have been like to walk out into the arena, wow!
It was designed for Theatrical presentations and later, when some alterations were done, probably by the Romans, Gladiatoral contests were held here. It was built in the Hellenistic period, in the 3rd Century BC. Its a magnificent structure!!
At an estimated 44,000 seating capacity, it is believed to be the largest outdoor theater in the ancient world.
It was first constructed during the Hellenistic period, although the present structure dates from the 1-2nd centuries AD. The Theatre has three cavea, each 22 rows, to which access was obtained via flights of steps between the cavea.
The scene is 18 m. in height and the inner facade was ornamented with reliefs, columns, blind niches, windows and decorated with statues on three levels.
You can watch my 2 min 35 sec Video clip Ephesus Part IV with Mozart – Andante from Piano Concerto No.2 in F Major “Elvira Madigan”.
The Great theater can accommodate an audience of 44,000 (others say 25,000 but I have not checked myself). It is thought to be the largest theater of the Roman world.
It was built using the slope of Mount Panyir. It was first built in the Vth BC during the Hellenistic Period but underwent main alterations in the following centuries, especially under Emperor Claudius, in 31-32 AD. Its diameter is154 m and the highest row is 38 m high.
In the modern time, it is used for concerts and other shows.
At an estimated 44,000 seating capacity, it is believed to be the largest outdoor theater in the ancient world. It is still used nowadays for concerts in summer. World famous performers including the late Luciano Pavarotti have performed in this Theater.
Ephesus has one of the largest and best-preserved ampitheaters of any Greek or Roman ruin in Turkey. In its day, the theater held over 20,000 people. It is built into the side of a hill, and most of its seating still remains. The stage section is partially preserved as well.
The theater is open to tourists, and you can expore it for as long as you want. After a hot day of walking, it was nice to actually have a place to sit down!
Get there early. If you arrive at 8 am you can have the whole theatre to yourself to conjure up all kinds of imagination of plays of past, of gladiators and wrestlers of past. Imagine how magnificant this building may have been at one time.
P.S. This theatre is mentioned in Acts 19:29-41
*Check out my short video that displays a little bit of Ephesus. It is of 1 star quality and content however.