Turkey, Culture

Ancient theater in Turkey to reopen after restoration

‘The world will witness the revival of a 2,200-year-old theater here,’ says head of excavation team in city of Laodicea

Sebahatdin Zeyrek   | 07.04.2021
Ancient theater in Turkey to reopen after restoration

DENIZLI, Turkey

A 2,200-year-old theater in southwestern Turkey’s ancient city of Laodicea (Laodikya) is set to reopen in the summer after its restoration.

Laodicea is located in Turkey’s southwestern Denizli province. Excavation and restoration work in the city, which is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage Temporary List, continues uninterrupted.

The restoration work has come to an end at the ancient theater, which was built in the second century BC and was one of Anatolia's leading cultural attractions until 1,600 years ago.

Celal Simsek, head of the excavation team in the city, told Anadolu Agency that as part of the restoration project, they tried to revive the theater with a capacity of 15,000 people while preserving its originality.

Simsek said that due to the coronavirus pandemic, there were disruptions to the work from time to time and the restoration deadline was delayed.

"The theater, built in the second century BC, had undergone restoration after an earthquake in the third century. At the beginning of the fifth century, the stage building was used as part of the city's fortification wall. The lower part of the theater, which is 96 meters [315 feet] in diameter, is made of marble, and the upper part is made of travertine. We noticed that most of the marble steps in the lower seating area were broken."

He noted that they completed the theater with old properly cut stones, there was very little missing in the upper seating section, and that they continued the restoration in this part with the stones brought from the travertine quarries they had analyzed.

They aim to complete the restoration in May and the theater will open in July or August, he added.

"The world will witness the revival of a 2,200-year-old theater here," he stressed.

The largest stadium in Anatolia, four gigantic bath structures, five agoras, and two theaters were unearthed in an 8-kilometer area in Laodicea.

*Writing by Seda Sevencan

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