One of the most impressive structure is the Great Theatre in Ephesus City. It is located on the western slope of the Panayir Mountain and overlook the harbour via Harbour Street.
This great monument was erected first in the Hellenistic Period, in the 3. century BC. It was used to for basic activities such as festivals, musical, theater events and city meetings.
Now we can see one of the beautiful example of Greko-Roman structer in Ephesus. Because Great theatre was reconstructed several times in different periods of Greek and Roman eras. Final construction was started during the reign of the Emperor Cladius (41 – 54 A.D) and was completed during the reign of the Emperor Trajan (98 – 117 A.D).
The capacity of the theater was 10 000 people in Greek period and 25 000 people in Roman period, Great Theatre was known as the largest theater of Anatolia. It had sixty six rows of marble seats, divided by two walkways between seats. Audiences were seating on the upper section and there were arched entrances. The important people of Ephesus city used lower seats with backs and also imperial seat located on the lower section. The stage building was three-storied and 18 meters high, facade of the stage building facing the audience was well decorated with reliefs, columns with niches, windows and statues.
In Roman period Great Theater was used for concerts, plays, religious – political – philosophical discussions and for gladiator and animal fights. This theatre is mentioned in Acts 19:29-41 and known as the place where Apostle Paul preached Ephesians.
After Ephesus City was destroyed by the earthquakes the abundant theatre’s marbles were carried away to be used in other constructions.
Great Theater is still used nowadays for concerts in summer. World famous performers including Elton John have performed in this Theater.