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The Theatre

Scene from the Ephesus Festival in the Great TheatreThe theatre is built against the slope of Mt Panayir. It has now lost most of its imposing decoration. It was one of the largest theatres in the Aegean world, measuring 60 m from the floor of the stage to the top of the galleries. The cavea consists of three sections. The auditorium held 24,000 spectators with another thousand in the vaulted galleries, making up a total capacity of over

25,000. Massive alterations to the original auditorium would appear to have been undertaken during the reign of Claudius and completed under the Emperor Trajan.

The tiers of seats were later used as spolia in the construction of other buildings. The first and second storeys of the stage building were constructed during the reign of Nero (54-68), while the third storey was constructed during the reign of Septimus Severus (193-211). The stage facade was adorned with niches, columns, reliefs and statues. The stage was at a height of 2.70 m above the orchestra and was reached by ramps on the left and right.




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