Ancient Theater in Turkey





Other names: ./.
Roman province: Lycia
Location: Sarıcasu, Kumluca county, Province Antalya
Capacity: ca. 2.500 spectators
Dimensions: ø cavea: 39,22 m
ø orchestra: 10,52 m

The (Greek) theatre of Rhodiapolis was probably built at the end of the 1st century BC and expanded in Roman times. The stage house was undoubtedly built during the Roman Empire. The devastating earthquake of 141 AD also affected Rhodiapolis and the theatre. The Euerget Opramoas of Rhodiapolis, one of the richest men in the ancient world, had - according to the inscriptions immortalised on his mausoleum - donated considerable sums of money for the reconstruction of the destroyed Lycian cities. This was also the case for the restoration of the theatre in his hometown. On the square in front of the theatre, a mausoleum was erected for him, with inscriptions on its outer wall testifying to his generosity and thus remaining in the memory of posterity.

The history of Rhodiapolis:  

Little is known about the ancient city of Rhodiapolis. The time of the first settlement still lies in the darkness of the past. One suspects however already lykische origins. It seems that at least the name of the city can be traced back to settlers from Rhodes, who named the newly founded city after their homeland. Rhodiapolis = city of the Rhodians. (Polis => town, Acropolis => upper town) The remains of an excavation tower prove the Hellenistic foundation beside the name of the town.

However, the city experienced its heyday during the Roman Empire. The majority of the buildings visible today date from this period. One of the richest men in the ancient world lived in Rhodiapolis during this period: Opramoas. Opramoas is considered the donor of many architectural monuments in this region. For example, an inscription on the theatre of Myra says that it was rebuilt after the earthquake of 141 A.D. with funds from the Euerget Opramaos of Rhodiapolis, a prime example of Euergetism, especially in Hellenism and during the Roman Empire, Euergetism was particularly important in the cities of the eastern Mediterranean. Powerful and wealthy members of the municipal councils underlined their claim to leadership in their respective cities with foundations, games or grain donations and non-profit buildings such as baths, theatres and aqueducts. In his honour, a mausoleum was erected in front of the theatre, which was reconstructed and rebuilt in the autumn of 2015 using the preserved components.

After the first excavations by Austrian archaeologists about 100 years ago, Rhodiapolis had fallen into oblivion again. Only a forest fire in the 90s of the last century brought the meanwhile completely overgrown ruins back to daylight and thus into the consciousness of the public.

The staircase to the theatre  
Photos: @chim    
Translation aid:    
Source: Wikipedia and others