West Theatre

    Built on natural ground as per Hellenistic tradition the West Theatre sloping steeply down to the orchestra is the early theatre of the city. There are three reasons for this theatre to face west: Firstly, this side faces the early settlement of the city; secondly, the topography of the site is suitable for building a theatre; and thirdly, it as aimed to make use of the westerly winds of the afternoon. The monument has a capacity of seating about 8,000 people; its cavea is divided into nine cunei with eight stairways (crepis). In addition there are stairways in both terminals of the analemma wall. Excavations have shown that the lower part of the cavea has 23 rows of seats and the upper cavea has 19 rows. The diameter of the cavea reaches 98.5 m at the vaulted strolling diazoma at the top including the analemma wall. The lower cavea and architectural sculpture of the stage building’s façade are of marble whereas the rest is of travertine blocks. Some marble seating blocks in the upper cavea should be from later repairs.

    The West Theatre functioned from the Hellenistic period through the big earthquake in the reign of Focas (r. 602-610). Thereafter, like the other structures in the city it served as a stone quarry and limekiln.

 


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