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The Theatre

Salamis, Near Famagusta

The Roman ampitheatre at Salamis, near Famagusta, North Cyprus
The Theatre at Salamis

The theatre of Salamis lay undiscovered till 1959. At that time, the decision was made to renovate it, so that it could be once again used for theatrical performances, a role which it does to this day, with performers as diverse as Boney M and Jose Carreras.

The present day ruins date back to around  the time of Augustus (63BC - 14AD), and seems to have been rebuilt around 200AD. The structure is unusual. Roman theatres were normally built into a convenient hill, which made construction a lot easier. (Have a look at the layout of Soli). The Salamis theatre, however, was a free-standing one, not an excavated landscaped one. The inner half of the auditorium was partially cut into a rocky prominence, and was supported on a solidly built up masonry mass, while the outer part was supported on a complicated system of heavy walls and vaults. The theatre  part was built on flat ground, and although you might expect it to face out to sea, it in fact, faces inland.

The auditorium originally consisted of 50 rows of seats and held over 15,000 spectators. Its orchestra bore an alter dedicated to Dionysus and two bases dedicated to Marcus Aurelius Commodus, and Caesar Constantius, and Caesar Maximanius.

Performances took place on a raised stage whose background was decorated with statues. The theatre was in use until around 400AD, but it was destroyed by earthquakes, and allowed to fall into ruins. Much of the structure was used in the rebuilding of the gymnasium and baths nearby.


See the location in Google maps.

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