Grand Theatre, Ephesus
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.
The grand theatre at Ephesus is the most prominent and impressive sight. It was built in the slopes of Mt Pion. It was originally constructed during Hellenistic period under the reign of Lysimachus in the 3rd century BC. It was he who relocated Ephesus to its present site.
During her history it was improved, enlarged and refined by the Roman emperors by the name of Claudius, Augustus, Nero and Trajan. The Emperor and rich Roman spectators gather at the theatre to listened musical concert, to be entertained by artist performing theatrical play, to see gladiators fighting to the death and animal fights. It was also used for political and religious gatherings.
St Paul the early Christian preached and sermon to the large audience at this theatre. He was preaching and condemning paganism
From bird’s eye view the theatre has semi circle shape. It has sitting sections for the spectators, the centre stage and section for the orchestra and actors. It can accommodate 17,000 to 25,000 excited spectators.
To improve the acoustics bronze and clay sounding vessels were placed around the auditorium. Even today the acoustic is still great and modern performances are still being held here. Artist like Elton John, Jose Carreras, Sting have actually performed in this theatre. I am not quite sure if today performances will damage the fragile theatre.
Go to the top of the theatre and you would be able to see bird’s eye view of ancient city of Ephesus.
The Grand Theatre is one of the most spectacular monuments in Ephesus. It is dramatically set against the slopes of Mt. Pion. Apparently it took sixty years to excavate and then construct the theatre. When completed it could seat 25,000 people. The theatre was originally built during Hellenistic times but had been restored, rebuilt and expanded many times since most notably during the Roman reign of Claudius. Supposedly St. Paul gave a sermon from the proscenium. I recommend that you climb to the top of the theatre and take in the marvelous views of Ephesus that can be seen from here.
When you sit at the very top of the grand theatre, close your eyes and block out Ephesus as it is today. Imagine what it would have been like to sit there thousands of years ago, and see what those people saw.
Its very steep, and probably one of the most visited parts of Ephesus, its a steep walk to the top but worth it for the peace and the views.
This is me at the grand theatre sporting bright yellow shorts hahahahahahahaha, if i were here in this spot when the Romans were here, they would have thrown me to the lions hahahahahahaha
Here is another amazing fact about the grand theatre, they actually had a primative form of loud speakers in those days, yes its true. They were made of bronze and ceramics and located in various places in the theatre which made the acoustics of the theatre near perfect