Friday, October 18, 2013
The best preserved Hellenistic theater in the world
Aspendos, in Turkey, is known for having the best-preserved theatre of antiquity. With a diametre of 96 metres (315 ft), the theatre provided seating for 7,000.
The theatre was built in 155 by the Greek architect Zenon, a native of the city. It was periodically repaired by the Seljuqs, who used it as a caravansary, and in the 13th century the stage building was converted into a palace by the Seljuqs of Rum.
In order to keep with Hellenistic traditions, a small part of the theatre was built so that it leaned against the hill where the Citadel(Acropolis) stood, while the remainder was built on vaulted arches. The high stage served to seemingly isolate the audience from the rest of the world. The scaenae frons or backdrop, has remained intact. The 8.1 metre (27 ft) sloping reflective wooden ceiling over the stage has been lost over time. Post holes for 58 masts are found in the upper level of the theatre. These masts supported a velarium or awning that could be pulled over the audience to provide shade.