North Theatre

  When the Hellenistic West Theatre could not answer the needs of the increasing urban population the North Theatre was built in the second century AD. Facing northeast this theatre has a panoramic view towards the Lykos Plain, former lake there, Hierapolis, and Mt Çökelez. It was built on the hillside as per the recommendations by Vitruvius and has an almost horseshoe shape. The stage building, façade, and cavea were all built with marble and altogether cover an area of 1600 sq. m. The cavea has 23 rows of seats in the lower cavea and 26 rows in the upper cavea; the lower cavea is divided into nine cunei with eight stairways whereas the upper cavea is divided into 16 cunei with 15 stairways. The building’s capacity is about 12,000 people. The cunei reach a width of 11.5 to 12.5 m depending on the curvature and the cavea’s diameter is 112 m and reaches 121.5 m including the analemma. Thus, the cavea and the orchestra are bigger than a semicircle. Based on the size of the monument the stage building is thought to be three-storeyed. Extant piers indicate that the vaulted passageway was reinforced with arched projections thus improving its resistance. To the south of the analemma are rows of shops serving the spectators. In the east part of the theatre are blocks for fixing the tents (velarium / velum) that protected the spectators from the sun and also improved acoustics by preventing echoing. In addition there are holes in the rows of seats where portable parasols were erected to protect the spectators from the sun. Diazoma flooring of marble bears marks of northward land-shifts caused by earthquakes in time. The calcareous layer covering all the orchestra podium blocks and traces of pink plaster to make the area waterproof all point to the fact that this theatre was used for water games (colymbethra). Rows of seats bear Greek inscriptions designating numbering, reservations for guilds, associations, or dynasties. This is of importance because it shows that there are seats reserved for other cities of the Lykos Valley and some association members.
     This theatre stayed in use from the second until the seventh century. From then until 1990 it was exploited as a quarry and limekiln.


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