Ancient theater to host events again after centuries
The Western Theater, built 2,200 years ago in the ancient city of Laodicea, which is on the UNESCO Tentative List, will host culture and art activities again after 1,600 years as restoration works are set to be finished by the end of this year.
According to a written statement made by the western province of Denizli’s metropolitan municipality, the ancient city of Laodicea has been coming to light since 2008 within a protocol signed by the municipality and the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
The statement said that the restoration work in the Western Theater, which has not been active since the fifth century and consists of one of the first seven churches in history that is mentioned in the Bible, nears the end.
On a recent visit, Denizli Mayor Osman Zolan emphasized that Denizli is a very rich city in terms of cultural heritage and explained that the city contains 19 ancient cities and many beauties, and one of the most important is Laodicea.
“With the support of our municipality and the university studies, uninterrupted excavation is carried out here for 12 months. A beautiful and exemplary work is exhibited in Laodicea. As a result, many beauties have come to light. Work to revive one of the two theaters in the ancient city was started. Within the protocol made with the metropolitan municipality and the South Aegean Development Agency [GEKA], a 15,000-person Western Theater will hopefully stand up until the end of this year. Right next to Denizli, our 2,200-year-old ancient theater will now host cultural and artistic events. We want to hold an event at the Western Theater as soon as possible. There are concerts supported by the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. We want one of those concerts to be organized at the Western Theater in Laodicea,” Zolan said, adding that there are still many places underground Laodicea.
The head of the excavations, Professor Celal Şimşek also pointed out that they did very good work together with Denizli Metropolitan Municipality in Laodicea, adding, “Here we carried out the 100-year work in 15-16 years. We apply all restoration techniques in international criteria.”
Şimşek stated that 70 percent of the works in the upper part of the theater, where the audience sit, are completed, that they will complete the 30 percent work in a month, and that the works in the lower part will be completed by the end of the year.
“The ancient theater, which was built 2,200 years ago, will be reunited with people, art and culture after 1,600 years,” he said.