Theatre of Dionysus

Athens, Greece

The Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus is a major theatre in Athens, built at the foot of the Athenian Acropolis. Dedicated to Dionysus, the god of plays and wine, the theatre could seat as many as 17,000 people with excellent acoustics, making it an ideal location for ancient Athens' biggest theatrical celebration, the Dionysia. It was the first theatre ever built, cut into the southern cliff face of the Acropolis, and supposedly birthplace of Greek tragedy. The remains of a restored and redesigned Roman version can still be seen at the site today. It is sometimes confused with the later, smaller, and better-preserved Odeon of Herodes Atticus, located nearby on the southwest slope of the Acropolis.

History

The site has been used as a theatre since the sixth century BC. The existing structure dates back to the fourth century BC but had many other later remodellings. The only certain evidence of this early theatre consists of a few stone blocks that were reused in the 100 century BC.

By the end of the fifth century BC, some of the wooden constructions had been replaced with stone. The Theatre of Dionysus in its present general state dates largely to the period of the Athenian statesman Lycurgus (ca. 390-325/4 BC), who, as overseer of the city's finances and building program, refurbished the theatre in stone in monumental form. The fourth century theatre had a permanent stage extending in front of the orchestra and a three-tiered seating area (theatron) that stretched up the slope.

The Theatre of Dionysus underwent a modernization in the Roman period, although the Greek theatre retained much of its integrity and general form. An entirely new stage was built in the first century CE, dedicated to Dionysus and the Roman emperor Nero. By this time, the floor of the orchestra had been paved with marble slabs, and new seats of honor were constructed around the edge of the orchestra. Late alterations carried out in the third century AD by the archon Phaedrus included the re-use of earlier Hadrianic reliefs, which were built into the front of the stage building.[The remains of a restored and redesigned Roman version of the theatre can still be seen at the site today.

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Address

Acropolis, Athens, Greece
See all sites in Athens

Details

Founded: 6th century BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Greece

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jaque C. Ribeiro (2 months ago)
The Acropolis was the most beautiful and interesting site we visited in Athens. It is big and all the most famous atractions are inside it.
Varun Menghani (2 months ago)
Well maintained theatre. Part of the Acropolis complex. Must visit as it is impressive and two and a half thousand years old!
Paul Velthuis (2 months ago)
The importance of this place for the city of Athens cannot be enough described. The view and the feeling make you feel living in ancient times.
Jees Mohan (3 months ago)
The theater of Dionysus is another important Greek monument located on the south slope of the Acropolis of Athens. It was built in the 6th century and is known to be one of the oldest theaters in Greek history and an important monument of Athens. Like all major ancient Greek monuments and buildings, this theater was dedicated to Dionysus, the god of wine and merriment. Initially, the structure was just a crude circular area with trampled greenery arranged for seating
J Andrade (3 months ago)
Fantastic place. There they have presentation of famous singers, acoustic is really exceptional, you can here with great acoustic. It's really historical. You need to visit.
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