Expropriation works almost finished for historic theater
İZMİR – DHAA Roman theater, stuck in between shanty towns in the Aegean province of İzmir’s Kadifekale, is being expropriated for nearly 12 million Turkish liras with plans to unearth its fascinating 16,000-person capacity.
It is believed that the theater, where the second century Christian bishop of İzmir St. Polycarp was killed, would be a great center for the world of Christianity.
İzmir, known as Smyrna in ancient times, has hosted various civilizations in its 8,500-year-old history. The province’s municipality has so far paid 11.889 million liras for expropriation works to resurface the ancient Roman Theater.
The decision to expropriate has been made by the municipality over 164 parcels on an area of 12,974 square meters. So far, the municipality has purchased the land title over an area of 11,894 square meters.
Archaeological works to unearth the theater are being carried out within a protocol between the municipality and the Culture and Tourism Ministry. Works have been put on hold for some time but will commence again soon.
About the process
As part of the project, an archaeological surface survey has been made to confirm the exact place of the architectural ruins of the theater and its walls.
The project on the extension of the ancient theater in the Kadifekale first degree archaeological site has been proposed to the Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board.
A 1/1000 scaled development plan has been included in the seventh Five-Year Development Program for the expropriation in the field of the ancient theater.
Upon the decision, the way for the expropriation was paved and two meetings have been held to inform and create discussions among locals living in the district.
Saint Polycarp killed in İzmir
The most comprehensive information about the ancient theater can be obtained from the plans, drawings and studies of Austrian architects and archaeologists Otto Berg and Otto Walter, who conducted research in the region in 1917 and 1918. According to their reports, the remains of the theater carry characteristics of the Roman era.
Ancient sources claim that Saint Polycarp from İzmir was killed in this theater during the early ages of Christianity, in the pagan period of the Roman era, suggesting the theater had witnessed many instances of tragedy in its history.
After works are completed, the site will be accessible for those visiting the Konak, Alsancak, Karşıyaka and Bornova districts of the province. The renovated theater will host shows and concerts like the Ancient Theater of Ephesus.