El Teatro Romano is the oldest survived monument in Málaga City; it is situated at the foot of the famous Alcazaba fortress. The theatre was built in the first century BC, under Emperor Augustus, and was used until the third century AD. Subsequently it was left to ruin for centuries, until the Moors settled in Andalucía. In 756-780AD the amphitheatre was used as a quarry by the Moorish settlers , to excavate the stone used to build the Alcazaba fortress - you can see some Roman columns and capitals in the fortress. Over time it became buried under dirt and rubble, and remained hidden there for almost five centuries.
The theatre was rediscovered in 1951, when the construction of Casa de Cultura uncovered the first archaeological clues. The construction of the gardens was abandoned, and instead excavations began. In 1995 a polemic decision was made to demolish the Casa de la Cultura, which stood over a third of the site. Once the site had been fully excavated, a large scale restoration project began, which proved more difficult than anticipated, as many of the missing pieces are now part of the foundations of the neighbouring Alcazaba.
On 15 September 2011, 27 years after reconstruction began, El Teatro Romano reopened to the public, and held its first stage performances for millenia, with performances from Andrés Mérida, Daniel Casares, and Carlos Álvarez, reading from Juvenal Soto and the poetry of Pablo Picasso and Manuel Alcántara. The amphitheatre is now open throughout the year for visitors, and in summer, it will be used for open-air performances. It seats 220 spectators.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.