Five ancient theaters that definitely need a visit

When you think of theater, the first few words that come to your mind are Broadway (New York), La Scala (Milan), Sydney Opera House (Australia) and the Bolshoi Theater (Moscow). Thousands of tourists visit these theaters every year for their world famous plays and shows. However, some ancient theaters remain significant in today’s world. Boasting of Greek and Roman antiquity, these theaters have been preserved beautifully and are delights to visit even today. Given below are five such ancient theaters that you definitely need to visit, should you choose to visit the cities they are located in.

 Theater of Epidaurus

The Theater of Epidaurus

Considered to be the best preserved of all the ancient theaters in the world, the Theater of Epidaurus acted as the political as well as religious center of the city of Epidaurus. Construction of the Greek theater began in 1880 and finished in the twentieth century. Capable of seating over 20000 spectators, the theater housed over 55 rows of seats (distributed among twenty-two tiers on the upper landing and twelve tiers on the lower landing). The world famous acoustics of the theater remain a mystery to this day, with many terming it as the wind carrying the sound while some consider it a secret in the way the seats were designed.

Theater of Side

The Theater of Side

The Roman Theater of Side is a part of the ruins of Side, a resort town located near the Mediterranean coast in Southern Turkey. Side was considered a trade center of sorts for olive oil as well as slaves in ancient days. The Theater of Side acted as the city’s cultural hotspot for several years, attracting people from the surrounding regions as well. With the capacity of 15000 seats, the theater was later converted into a battleground of sorts for gladiator fights. It was also used as a church for a few years during the worldwide explosion of Christianity. Today, the theater sits amidst the other ruins of the city, including a city gate and a temple, still representing its glory of the days gone by.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Constructed in 161 AD, the Odeaon of Herodes was built as an ode to Herodes Atticus’s wife who died young. The theater is located on the southern slopes of the Athenian Acropolis and acted as a memorial first before it was eventually transformed into a theater. It is said that Herodes Atticus was so overwhelmed with grief by his wife’s demise that he fell into a deep depression for over a year. After coming out of his depression, Herodes started building several monuments in the city, dedicating them to his late wife. He built the theater right under the Parthenon and named it “The Odeon of Rigilla” at first (after his wife). However, he eventually renamed the theater “The Odeaon of Herodes Atticus” after himself.

Roman Theater of Bosra

The Roman Theater of Bosra

The city of Bosra in Syria houses one of the most beautiful ancient theaters in the world. The Theater of Bosra was built soon after the Romans conquered the city in 106 A.D. It could seat up to 15000 spectators and boasted of having thirty-five seating rows, amazing acoustics and a three-storey proscenium. Later on, the Ayyubid Dynasty built a strong fortress around the theater, thereby preserving it to perfection even after so many years.

Roman Theater of Amman

The Roman Theater of Amman

Located in Jordan, the Roman Theater of Amman happens to be one of the most impressive theaters to this day. With a 6000 seating capacity, the theater was constructed during AntoniousPious’s reign. Only a small part of the colonnaded forum of which the theater was a part remains today. In addition to being used for cultural shows, the theater also transformed into a safe haven for several Palestinian refugees who fled from Israel in 1948.


These are some of the most impressive and well-preserved ancient theaters in the world today. Just visiting one of these wonders would make an individual marvel at the architectural excellence of ancient times. So make sure you visit these theaters when you visit their respective cities.

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