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The Grand Theater of Ephesus

The theater is one of the most impressive buildings in Ephesus. Originally it was a Hellenistic theater, later restored, adapted and expanded by the Romans in the first century A.D., reaching its current capacity of 25 000 people.

The horseshoe-shaped cavea has 220 degrees and a diameter of 151 meters and the top row was 30 feet above the orchestra. The exterior stairs were originally vaulted, to facilitate access to the upper ranks.

The skene, whose ruins are seen today, is an ornate three-story building of the Roman period. There are significant elements of the Hellenistic period in the construction of scenarios.

The facade is divided into many niches full of ornaments and motifs. The ground floor of the skene consisted in a long corridor with 8 bedrooms and five large doors leading to the stage.

It was in this theater where St. Paul preached to the Ephesians. Tells the story of a goldsmith named Demetrius and his fellows who caused a public outcry against Paul, shouting “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” According to some, this attitude was due to the fear of these workers that Christianity will close or ban their business, selling statues of Artemis to pilgrims.

The Grand Theatre is located on the Panayir hillside, opposite to the Harbor Street, very easy to distinguish if you take the south entrance to Ephesus. The Theatre was not only used for concerts and plays, but also to discuss religious, political and philosophical issues as well as gladiators and animal fights.

 

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