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