Top 10: The most famous ancient amphitheaters that survived to this day (11 photos)
In the times of Ancient Greece and Rome, acting was very highly valued. This is evidenced by the numerous amphitheaters that have survived to this day. Many of them are still able to attract and surprise their visitors.
1. In the Turkish city of Sida, near Antalya, there is one of the ancient amphitheaters with a seating capacity of fifteen thousand people. It was founded in the seventh century BC by Greek colonists.
2. Borsa is one of the most ancient cities of our world. The first mentions of it date back to the fourteenth century B.C. Here you can also see the remains of a huge amphitheater. Several centuries ago fifteen thousand spectators at a time could enjoy a performance here.
3 The all-Greek Pythian games and numerous Greek myths are closely connected with the ancient city of Delphi, located on the territory of this country. So it is not at all surprising that there was an amphitheater here as well. Now it is in a very poor condition, but previously it gathered to watch the performances of at least five thousand people.
4. Hamann, the capital of Jordan, was formerly called Philadelphia. During the reign of Antoninus Pius, an amphitheater was built there for six thousand spectators.
5. It took the Greeks several years to build the amphitheater at Taormin on the Sicilian peninsula in the second century B.C. Most of the time it took to level the uneven mountain slope with limestone. During Roman rule gladiatorial duels were regularly staged here. But even in our times the stage of the amphitheater is not empty. There are regularly held various cultural events, in particular the International Festival of Arts “Taormina Arte”.
6. In the city of Merida (Spain) there is an amphitheater built in classical architectural style in the days of ancient Rome and designed for six thousand spectators. Numerous plays and colorful festivals are still held there.
7. To the southeast of the Acropolis in Athens is an amphitheater built in honor of the god Dionysus in the fifth century B.C. Its distinguishing feature from other similar structures is the material of which it was erected – wood.
8. You can see the ruins of the amphitheater and on the territory of modern France in the city of Orange. According to historical data, it was built in the first century AD, but due to the spread of Christianity performances here ceased. This happened approximately in 391.
9. One of the main attractions of the ancient Greek city of Epidaurus is considered an amphitheater for twenty thousand people, built here in the fourth century BC. Here you can observe a very interesting acoustic effect – a word whispered on the stage can easily be heard in any part of the amphitheater.
10. On the southern slope of the Acropolis are the remains of an amphitheater built in 161 in honor of the late wife of Herod the Attician. The structure is well preserved to this day and still serves as a venue for various costume performances and concerts.
12 of the world’s most astonishing and impressive theaters
From sites on the ruins of ancient amphitheaters to modern futuristic structures, here are the most original theater buildings from around the world.
1. théâtre antique d’Orange (Orange, France)
The Théâtre Antique in Arauzion (Orange) is one of the best-preserved ancient Roman theaters. The four-tiered wall behind the stage and the amphitheater carved into the mountain look grandiose. Since 1869, the festival “Roman Feasts” was held here. Since 1902 it changed its name to “Choregia of Orange” and became an annual event. Sarah Bernhardt and Montserrat Caballé used to shine on that stage.
2. Arena di Verona (Italy, Verona)
Ancient Roman amphitheater, the third largest after the Colosseum and the Capua, can hold up to 30,000 spectators, but is now allowed no more than 15,000. Over its 2,000-year history the structure has been used as a gladiatorial arena, a circus, and a frontal seat. Since 1913, operas have been performed here regularly. There are seats for the audience below, but you can also sit on the authentic stone steps, which will cost less.
3. Oslo Opera-huzet (Oslo, Norway)
The building is partially submerged in water and looks like an iceberg. The roof is used as a walking area – ramps allow walking everywhere. It is one of the most technically equipped theater buildings – the stage consists of 16 platforms that can move in any direction. The main hall is illuminated by an 800-LED chandelier, its light refracted in 5,800 handmade pendants.
4. Auditorio de Tenerife (Spain, Santa Cruz de Tenerife)
Santiago Calatrava’s futuristic creation looks like a ship with a sail. Inside there are two halls: a large symphony hall and a chamber hall. The pride of the Auditorium is the grandiose organ, 3,835 pipes of which are placed on both sides of the parterre. The sound is terrific.
5. Ermita de la Santa Cruz (Guatemala, Antigua)
Only the facade of the Chapel of the Holy Cross (1664) has survived. Since 1973, it became the backdrop for the open-air theater scene. Under the ground there is a special chamber for the orchestra. And the singers sometimes climb to the roof during performances.
6. Seebühne, Bregenzer Festspiele (Austria, Bregenz)
The floating opera stage of the Bregenz Festival stands on stilts in Lake Constance. During performances, the lake is used as an extension of the stage space. For example, in a production of Umberto Giordano’s opera André Chénier, the lake “played” the role of the bathtub in which Marat was murdered. The main setting for the performance was a gigantic bust of the Jacobin (24 meters high, weighing 60 tons).
7. Globe Theatre (Great Britain, London)
The architects created the modern building of the theater (1997), based on historical information about Shakespeare’s Globe: a stage with a round courtyard without a roof, with standing seats at the bottom and three tiers of seats around. The external resemblance to the original allowed the new building to play the role of the old one in the episode “Shakespeare’s Code” of the British series “Doctor Who.”
8. Esplanade (Singapore).
Two flaky twin domes appeared in Marina Bay in 2002. They were compared to marshmallows, papayas, and even mating anteaters, until they were finally dubbed “durian.” The concert hall is considered one of the best in the world in terms of acoustics.
9. Guangzhou Opera House (Guangzhou, China)
Zaha Hadid failed to realize her theater project in Wales. But what is too futuristic for the British, is just right for the Chinese. The architect’s radical ideas took shape in the Opera House on the banks of the Pearl River. The interior is a complicated system of spaces merging into one another, not a single straight line. In the main hall the viewers are met with a panorama of the starry sky: waves of the ceiling dissected by millions of LEDs.
10. Center for Performing Arts in Downtown Albany (Albany, USA)
When viewed from afar, it’s hard to tell it from a sculpture. The building looks like half of a broken egg on a stand. The base goes six stories underground. Inside, there are two halls. One is for concerts of chamber music, cabarets, lectures and multimedia presentations; the other is for concerts and musical performances.
11. Dalhalla (Sweden, Rottvik)
The first three letters in the name of the theater, alluding to Valhalla, stand for the province of Dalarna. The theater site was equipped in 1993 in the former quarries, in a quarry 60 meters deep. An emerald lake with clear drinking water is used as a natural backdrop. Acoustics in the quarry is not worse than in solid European theaters, there is practically no echo. Every summer there are about 20-30 performances in the theater.
12. Sydney Opera House (Australia, Sydney)
The idea for the building came to architect Jorn Utzon when he saw a beautifully arranged group of sailing ships in Sydney Harbor. The directional roofs of the sails are covered with more than a million gleaming ceramic tiles. Inside, extra ceilings were made because of acoustic problems.
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