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THE STADIUM

The stadium, which is located immediately to the south of the gymnasium, was built by the Emperor Nero (54-68 A.D.). The whole measures 228 x 38 m. , with the tiers of seats resting against the slope of Mt Panayir and the northern section of the cavea supported by vaults. The finds include a number of column capitals and roughly carved marble slabs. The building was later used as a quarry for building materials for use in the construction of the Byzantine castle, with the result that very little now remains.

The stadium was used for chariot races, athletic displays and gladiatorial combats and marble reliefs depicting gladiators are displayed along the Marble Way. In the hilly terrain opposite the stadium a number of buildings of uncertain date have been unearthed.

These include a fish market, a Byzantine fountain and a funeral chamber thought to be that of Androcles, the legendary founder of the city. The Marble Way (Via tecta) connecting the Artemision to the centre of the city, passed by here. The stadium is now used for the camel wrestling competitions which have gradually become a traditional feature. Every year, in spring, visitors come from all over the country for the festivities taking place during the annual fair.




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