There are still plays and recitals held here from time to time, particularly in the summer – ask your guide to check the upcoming schedule of events.
Further up the hill from the Temple of Apollo lies the spectacularly-located Delphi theatre. Sitting in one of the 35 rows of seats, you are treated to a stunning view looking down on other areas of the archaeological site, and towards the rest of the valley below.
Improvements on Improvements
It is presumed by ancient historians that there was a more rudimentary wooden-seated theatre existing on this site prior to the structure we can see today. However, nothing remains of this, and the current theatre was built in the 4th century BC to host Delphi’s various theatrical and musical events. By 159 BC, its condition had deteroriated to the extent that Eumenes II of Pergamon made the decision to fully renovate the theatre. It was during these renovations that the lower rows of limestone benches were constructed, bringing the total seating capacity up to an impressive 5,000.
A Glimpse of the Past
Today most of the intricate stonework has been destroyed, stolen or removed to other locations. One particularly fine example is an exquisite frieze of the Labours of Herakles which once adorned the front of the stage, and can now be seen on display in the Delphi Museum. As a result of these removals, the theatre does feel rather stripped of ornamentation when compared to certain other surviving Greek theatres. However, the experience of taking a seat in this broad auditorium and imagining a 2,000 year-old capacity crowd around you is evocative to say the least, and leaves a lasting impression on many visitors to Delphi theatre.
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