The Best Preserved Roman Theatre In Turkey

Besides its natural beauty and dazzling beaches, Turkey’s tourism capital Antalya is famous for its ancient cities as well. The most popular of these ancient cities which spread all over the city is Aspendos. The main reason for this popularity is its theatre. As one of the best preserved Roman theatres in Turkey and in the World, Aspendos Theatre, thanks to its perfect acoustics, still continues to host concerts and performances in addition to the Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival held in every summer. It has an important place in Turkey’s history because it hosted the first theatre festival in Turkey in 1959. The inscriptions inform us that the Aspendos Theatre with a capacity of 15.000 spectators was built by an architect named Zenon between the years 138 and 164. One of the reasons that the theatre has survived to the present day in such a good condition is because it was used as a palace during the Seljuk Period. The tiles which decorated some parts of the structure during the Seljuk Period can be seen in the Antalya Ethnography Museum.

Beyond Theatre Limiting Aspendos, one of the most visited ancient cities of Antalya, with only its theatre will be unfair to this beautiful ancient city. With its baths, temples, aqueducts, city walls and many other remnants, Aspendos gives clues about city life 2000 years ago. During the Roman period, especially in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, the city became one of the most important centres of trade and art in Asia and famous for its richness. Many remains still bear traces of their past glory. Aspendos is a settlement divided into two parts as Lower and Upper Cities. The famous theatre is located in the Lower City of the town. Another important structure in the Lower City is the Stadion where sport events took place. The most remarkable ruins in the Upper City are the Acropolis, the Agora, the 100 metres long Basilica, which was also used as a commercial court, shops, the Monumental Fountain, which is 35 metres long and 15 metres high, and the Odeon building behind the Monumental Fountain. Engineering Wonder: Aqueducts One of the most magnificent buildings of the ancient city of Aspendos is the Aqueduct, which can certainly be called an engineering wonder. One kilometre of it has survived to the present day. It is considered as an engineering wonder because of its complex but skillful that provides water to the acropolis from the mountains in the northwest of the city. The competition between the Aqu- educt, which brings water 25 km away and distribute it throughout the city with a system reduce the water pressu- re, and the Theater, other magnificent structure, is reflected in the legends. According to the legend, the king of Aspendos announces that his daughter will marry the person who does the most useful work for the city. One of the 2 brothers builds the aqueduct and the other builds the theater. The king wants to choose the aqueduct because it brings water to the city from far away lands. However, he does not neg- lect to visit the theater. The theater has an acoustics that transmits sound to the farthest. Even the sound of a coin thrown on the ground can be heard from the top rows. The king, standing at the farthest corner of the stage, hears ‘You should wive your daughter to me!’ when architect whispers it. The king decides to give the first prize to the theater and approves his daugh- ter’s marriage to the architect. Even today, visitors continue to argue about which one of them is more beautiful than the other.

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