The Roman Theatre at Hierapolis, Turkey

The ancient town of Hierapolis was located on a limestone terrace that today is called Pamukkale in South western Turkey. The ancients always valued hot springs and Hierapolis was a spa town.

The theatre of Hierapolis was built during the reign of emperor Hadrian. There had been a severe earthquake in the year 60AD and the theatre was built as part of a rebuilding program. The theatre- especially the scaenae frons (background to the stage) was made more monumental and grand during the reign of Septimius Severus in early 3rd Century AD.

The Theatre at Hierapolis
The Theatre at Hierapolis

The first thing that strikes you when you see the theatre is how massive it is. The theatre has about 45 rows of seats and they are quite steep- it takes quite a bit of effort (especially under the hot sun) to go up and down. Estimates say that the theatre could have help up to 15,000 people at full capacity.

Close-up of the Scaenae Frons
Close-up of the Scaenae Frons

There is a seat of honour that takes up quite a bit of space in the lower rows. This would have been the place reserved for dignitaries.

The Seat of Honour/ Tribunalia
The Seat of Honour/ Tribunalia

The scaenae frons has a row of corinthian columns with elaborately decorated friezes both at the top and at the base.

A close up of the Scaenae Frons
A close up of the Scaenae Frons

As in the case of many ancient monuments, the theatre- especially the scaenae frons has been painstakingly repieced together by experts. To see an older photograph of how the monument looked in 1977 click here.

Close-up of one of the friezes
Close-up of one of the friezes

To view even more detailed images of the friezes (external site) click here. 

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8 Comments Add yours

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Yes it was!

  1. Beautifil, brings back so many memories!! I would love to explore Turkey again!

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      It’s an amazing place- I would love to return too!

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Thank you!

  2. Nirmala says:

    Amazing place!

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Yep!

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