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Great Theatre
THE GREAT THEATRE
It is situated on the slope of Mount Panayýr. It was first built in the Hellenistic times and renovated in the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. Theatre is the largest one in Turkey and its seating capacity is 24.000.  The theatre, like others, consisted of three main parts; skene (the stage building), cavea (the section where the spectators sit) and the orchestra (the place where the performances are carried out). The cavea had consisted of three superimposed sections. The stage building, the ruins of which can be seen today, was three storied and rose to a height of 18 m. The ground floor of the skene consisted of a long corridor with 8 rooms and five large doors leading to the stage. Niches replace these doors in the second and third stories. The third story was rebuilt in the 2nd Century A.D. The facade was subdivided with many highly ornate niches. The cavea has a horseshoe shape of 220 degrees and a diameter of 151 m.  The uppermost row of the cavea is 30 m above the orchestra.
The plays were being performed early in the morning and before the plays they were sacrificing animals to Dionysus. All the performers were male and they were wearing masks. The theatre was the scene of gladiatorial fights during the late Roman period.
During the early years of the Christianity, St.Paul who came to Ephesus to spread Christianity and he wanted to address to the crowd at the theatre. The silversmith Demetrius provoked the people against St. Paul because he earned a lot of many with his handmade Artemis statues and they shouted altogether �Artemis of Ephesus is great, the greatest is Artemis�. So St.Paul was forced to leave Ephesus and he continued his journey to Macedonia.
The Great Theatre is without doubt the most impressive attraction at Ephesus. The original construction dates from the time of Lysimachos. In the reign of Emperor Claudius (41-54 AD), the diameter of the theatre was enlarged. The first two stories of the stage (skene) were erected during the Emperor Nero's reign (54-68 AD). Work continued throughout the reign of Trajan (98-117 AD), and the third storey was probably not completed until the middle of the 2nd century.  In the classical theatre there was no stage as such. The actors were on the same level as the chorus in the orchestra. In some cases, the actors were raised minimally above the chorus with a small platform. During the Hellenistic period the chorus began to diminish in importance. The actors assumed a more important role and were raised above the chorus, making them both more audible and visible. It was not until the Roman period that the action took place on the stage, which consequently doubled in size. The orchestra became redundant and the area formally occupied by them was made over into seating for the most important spectators. Females were allowed to assist in the presentations but never to perform. The theatre has been put to many uses during the course of its history. While Ephesus was at the height of its prosperity, the theatre was the scene of celebrations honoring Artemis. Early performances of tragedies and comedies later made way for the addition of satire. Later still, mimes and pantomimes found their way on stage along with dances. Dionysius visiting Athenian actor Ikarios, Roman period -Izmir Archaeological Museum- The theatre, however, also had another life as a meeting place. The public listened to speeches and discussed politics here. This political aspect of the theatre, along with the voting which took place here, involved males only.  Preachers also held forth in the theatre. The preaching of St. Paul and the riot it produced in the Great Theatre of Ephesus is well documented. Built to hold 25,000 spectators, the theatre is quite massive. The 30 m. height and 145 m. width is quite impressive, both from close by and from a distance.
Great theater Plan after Wilberg The acoustics, as in all Greco-Roman theatres, are excellent. One of the lesser-known facts about the acoustics is that large bronze or clay sounding-vessels were placed at various points around the auditorium to improve the sound. Perhaps this was the origin of modern loud speakers.  Unless you visit the Great Theatre early or late in the day, out of season, you will be lucky to have it all to yourself. It is quite common to witness other visitors testing the acoustics. Experimenting with pins and different sized coins is a remarkable experience. Although some of the seats were removed and used elsewhere, the theatre is very well preserved and still functions as a theatre for concerts. The incline of the seating increases with each level, ensuring good visibility from all locations. The view from the top of the theatre is not to be missed.  Should you have the chance to attend a concert here, it will be a memorable occasion. It is a good idea to bring a cushion with you, but rest assured you will not need hearing aids.

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