Ancient theater to be lifted after 1,600 years
DENİZLİ – DHA
A 2,200-year-old theater located in the ancient city of Laodicea in the Eskihisar neighborhood of the western province of Denizli will be restored with the support of the Denizli Metropolitan Municipality.
Despite being built in the 2nd century B.C., the theater didn’t serve for Christianity when it spread across Anatolia after the 5th century. The theater completely collapsed after being hit by earthquakes over the centuries. It is now set to undergo restoration with a budget of 6 million Turkish Liras.
The theater will once again host culture and arts events, as it did 1,600 years ago.
A team headed by Pamukkale University academic Professor Celal Şimşek has been carrying out excavations in the ancient city, which is on the UNESCO Temporary Cultural Heritage List.
The current target of the excavations, supported by the Denizli Metropolitan Municipality for 10 years, is to revive the Western Theater, which was active during the Hellenistic and Roman eras.
The theater, which received great damage during earthquakes throughout the centuries, has a capacity of 15,000 people.
Located on the west of Laodicea, where one of the seven holy churches of Asia mentioned in the Bible is located, the theater has a view of the Pamukkale travertines.
Denizli Metropolitan Mayor Osman Zolan has recently signed a protocol with Şimşek to provide support for the restoration.
Within the scope of the protocol, signed in the ancient theater, the restoration of the Western Theater will be carried out by Şimşek and his team.
At the end of the two-year restoration project, the theater will open its doors to culture and arts events.
Zolan said they had provided support for the ancient city for the past 10 years.
“The ancient city is very close to Denizli’s city center. Our goal is to revive the Western Theater. It will have the same function as it did 1,600 years ago. People will feel the history and view cultural events here after two years,” he added.
Laodicea was the center of culture, arts, trade and sports in the ancient era, Şimşek said.
“We will make it a living archaeology center. This is why the support of local administrations is very important,” he added.