The Theatre of Dionysos (or Dionysus) was a large open-air theatre that was built at the base of the Acropolis in Athens. It was named after Dionysus, the god of wine, the inspirer of ritual madness and ecstacy and an important figure in Greek mythology.
The theatre hosted the City Dionysia festival, where renowned dramatists such as Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes competed during the festival.
Greek authorities announced at the end of 2009 that the theatre will be partially restored with a $9 million program. The renovation work will consist of modern additions to the surviving marble seats. The work is expected to be finished in 2015.
We walked up the slight incline to the theatre and marvelled at the size of the the theatre. It was apparently built in about 325 B.C. and later renovated by the Roman Emperor Nero in 61 A.D. The theatre seen today is Roman, since it was changed during renovation work.
The carved marble seats are still there and some are in fairly good condition. We walked across the area of the stage and I saw a trench under marble slabs that looked like it must have been for drainage. Like the Theatre of Herodes Atticus nearby that has been partially restored with new marble seats and improvements, the Theatre of Dionysus will one day be restored to its former grandeur. The theatre can seat about 15,000 people. We hope to attend an event there sometime in the future!
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The Theatre of Dionysus is an incredible example of the Greek culture that developed so early. Famous writers and thinkers performed here so long ago. And we have much of their writings to enjoy today!
Greece, Athens, Theater of Dionysos