Grand Theatre, Ephesus
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”.
This would have to be my most impressive place in Ephesus, the sheer size of the place makes your jaw drop to the ground. I beleive sting, and Elton John love this place too because they have performed concerts from this theatre. Now fully restored it has a seating capacity of 24,000 people. Work on this historic landmark began in the 3rd century B.C.
Here are some of the dimentions of the great theatre
The great theatre is 145 meters wide and the auditorium (Kevea) is 30 meters high. The three story stage (proskenium) is 18 meters high, it has 65 seating rows and 2 passage ways seperated into three. The entrance and exits was attained through the tunnel like monumentle entrances on the sides which were called (vomitorium)
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.
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
The largest and most impressive site in the Ephesus excavations is the Great Theater set at the head of Arcadian Street on the north slope of Mt. Pion. Traditionally Lysimachus selected the site in the 3rd C BC and began an excavation of 60 years duration. An initially small theater built in 40 AD replaced an earlier Greek theater and was steadily enlarged till the 5th C including repairs from a massive earthquake in the 4th C. The theater became part of the city defenses in the Dark Ages, then was lost to time until Austrian archaeologists uncovered it beginning in 1894 and continuing till current where most efforts are devoted to the stage house area.
The theater rises over 100 feet and seats 25,000 in 66 rows divided into three horizontal sections with the best marble in the lower area reserved for VIPs. The stage building is three stories high and was decorated with reliefs, columns, statues, and windows facing the audience. The presentations included concerts and plays but also religious and philosophical discussions. In the later Roman era, gladiator fights were featured.
Perhaps most famously, the apostle Paul, who spent three years making tents and preaching the Gospel in Ephesus, delivered a sermon here condemning pagan worship. The great theater was also the site of the "riot of the silversmiths", who made their living selling silver replicas of Artemis and whose livelihood was threatened by Paul and other early Christians. Their slogan - Long Live Artemis of the Ephesians - lives on in history. Today the major cultural event here is the Selcuk Ephesus Festival of Culture and Art held annually in May.
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.
The Theatre has three cavea, each 22 rows, to which access was obtained via flights of steps between the cavea. The skene is 18 m. in height and the inner fa?ade was ornamented with reliefs, columns, blind niches, windows and decorated with statues on three levels.
Before you reached the Theater in this picture near the parking you walk through a Stadium.
The 1st century AD Stadium had a track 712 feet long in front which the chariot and horse races were held. Gladiators fought wild beasts here, also, in front of the 70,000 spectators.
The 25,000 seat theater pictured here, is a huge semicircle with mt. Pion in the background. The begining of the construction on the Theater was by Alexander's general Lysimachus and completed by emperors Claudius and Trajan. In May there are numerous performances here at the theater. It is Selcuk Epheses Festival of Culture and Art
This is the Amphitheatre of Ephesus. It's still in working condition, able to hold up to 25,000 people. Supposedly this is the amphitheater where the Apostle Paul was to have a showdown with the silversmith who made Diana idols, but was imprisoned at the top of a hill instead. The prison can be see nearby.
The ampitheatre has three cavea, each 22 rows, to which access was obtained via flights of steps between the cavea. The skene is 18m. in height and the inner facade was ornamented with reliefs, columns, blind niches, windows and decorated with statues on three levels. The semicircular orchestra, surrounded by a channel, fronted a second skene supported on columns, 2.7m in height, which was approached by flights of steps. This section of the skene was used during the Roman period.
make sure, you will not miss the big amphitheater, where now big concerts are given again by popstars of today on several occasions every year
This pic was taken from the stage, and may see the dimensions of this huge theatre, beeing able to seat some thousands of people.
Sorry for the bad quality of the photo - it is a scanning of my Super-8-film, that is actually a slide with a size of just 4mmx8mm
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!!
Many concerts are held every summer in the Ephesus Amphiteheater within the framework of international festivals and organizations of various sorts. Do not miss the concerts where you will enjoy the antique city`s fascinating atmosphere...
the concerts that have been held up to now:
Jose Carreras, Sting, Elthon John, Jehtro Tull, Jan Garbarek etc...
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!
This theatre is fantastic, set into the side of Mount Pion. You walk from the Library of celsus along the Marble Road to get to the theatre. There is no shade in this part of the site and to access the theatre you have to climb some stairs (hard work as they are quite steep). When you enter the theatre you are met with a superbly preserved Roman style theatre.
Originally built during the Hellenistic period but heavily remodelled and adapted by the Roman emperors. There is a stage area still in tact and you can see quite easily th original seating areas and those that have been reconstructed. This theatre could seat 25000 people but this was only a fraction of the population of Ephesus. St Paul delivered a sermon to the early Christians in this theatre.