Ancient Theater in Turkey




Other names: ./.
Roman province: Lycia
Location: Demre, Demre county, Province Antalya
Capacity: approx. 12.000 spectators
Dimensions: ø cavea: 110 m
ø orchestra: 30 m

The originally Greek theatre of Myra was probably built in the 1st century BC. It leans on a steep mountain slope. The sides of the cavea with its imposing staircases and barrel vaults were made of masonry. Numerous richly decorated fragments of a theatre frieze have been preserved. Also the theatre of Myra received after the devastating earthquake of 141 A.D. for the reconstruction substantial donations of the Opramoas from Rhodiapolis as well as further funds of a Jason from Kyaneai and a Licinius Langus from Oinoanda.

The history of Myra:  

From the 5th century BC Myra was one of the six largest cities of the Lycian League and became the capital of Lycia under Emperor Theodosius II (401-450 AD). Myra had a magnificent temple of Artemis, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 141 AD. In 809 the city was conquered by Arab troops and lost its importance. Around 1100 A.D. Myra was conquered by the Seljuks and has been Islamic ever since.

Myra was buried over the centuries under the mud of the Kasaba Çayi, the Demre River, and was only explored by a German archaeologist between 1965 and 1968. The old port of the city, Andriake, is now deserted. The apostle Paul changed his ship here in 59 AD on his journey to Rome. The old Myra lies today under extensive greenhouses for tomatoes. Worth seeing are the Lycian rock tombs and the impressive theatre from Roman times.

In Byzantine times the town was a bishop's seat. From 309 A.D. Nicholas was the bishop of Myra. The bones of Saint Nicholas were taken to Bari by Italian merchants in 1087. Today the Church of St. Nicholas, built in the 6th century, is the venue of a unique religious and cultural festival every year in December, where people from all over the world debate about the deeds of St. Nicholas.
Today's three-nave basilica has its core from the 8th century, where it was renovated. In the second half of the 11th century a monastery was built and the monks were entrusted with the care of the pilgrimage site. The church remained a place of pilgrimage even after the bones were robbed.

Photos: @chim    
Translation aid:    
Source: Wikipedia and others