Roman Theatre

Cádiz, Spain

The Roman theatre of Cádiz is an ancient structure discovered in 1980. The theatre, which was likely built during the 1st century BC and was one of the largest ever built in the Roman empire, was abandoned in the 4th century and, in the 13th century, a fortress was built on its ruins by order of King Alfonso X of Castile.

The theatre featured a cavea with a diameter of more than 120 meters, and could house some 10,000 spectators. The theatre was one of the few Roman structures of ancient Hispania mentioned by classical authors, including Cicero and Strabo. Excavations in the site have also found remains of a quarter dating to the taifa period, Almohad houses and 17th century pits.

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Address

Calle Mesón 17B, Cádiz, Spain
See all sites in Cádiz

Details

Founded: 1st century BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Spain

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Christopher Davies (2 years ago)
This site was only discovered in the 1980s and shows the remarkable remains of the theatre. The accompanying explanatory displays are excellent. I was particularly taken by the long high arched corridor which gave access to the seating. It gave an insight into how the building worked.
Adam Miles (2 years ago)
THIS IS A GEM OF A PLACE!!!! It may be very hidden and hard to find (even if you have an address) but it is a MUST VISIT LOCATION. And please give a donation - they really, really deserve it!!
Brendan Geraghty (2 years ago)
The Roman theatre is fantastic such a treasure to be found in the middle of Cadiz.. Well worth a visit.
Teresa Davila (2 years ago)
Entry is free and a great experience. History provided and exhibition on how the theatre would have been built. To see Roman ruins up close and in person was wonderful. We could not find it and got turned around a few times just be patient and ask the locals, they are helpful. Check for hours so you don't arrive when closed.
Marta Rodenas (2 years ago)
The entrance is hard to find, google maps takes you to where the ruins are but not the entrance center. There is a picture that describes how to get there if you go to where the Google location takes you. The Roman theatre is free to enter so it’s a must-see for anyone who loves history and is on a budget. The theatre was only discovered in 1980 despite it being there for so long! It was used as a fort at one point as well. All of the history is described in the small museum that’s attached to the ruins.
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Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.

Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.

The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.

Late Antiquity and Byzantine periods

In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.

The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.

The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.