x

FOOD & TRAVEL

Greek authorities to restore ancient Athens theater where classical plays were first performed

ATHENS, Greece — The ruined theater under the Acropolis where the works of Euripides and other classical playwrights were first performed some 2,500 years ago will undergo partial restoration over the next six years, Greek officials said Wednesday .

The euro6 million ($9 million) program is set for completion by 2015 and will include extensive modern additions to the surviving stone seats of the Theater of Dionysos.

But is unlikely that the site will host modern audiences any time soon.

Standing on the southern slopes of the Acropolis Hill, the theater was first used in the late 6th century B.C. It saw the opening performances of tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, as well as Aristophanes’ comedies — considered the precursors of western theater.

“The Theater of Dionysos … is of immense historic significance, as it is here that the masterpieces of ancient drama were first performed,” said architect Constantinos Boletis, the project leader.

Theater first emerged as an art form in late 6th century B.C. Athens, where playwrights competed for a prize during the annual festival of Dionysos — the ancient god of theater and wine in whose cult the art originated.

Originally a terrace where spectators sat on the bare earth above a circular stage, the Theater of Dionysos was rebuilt in limestone and marble during the 4th century B.C. and modified in Hellenistic and Roman times

A small section of the stone seating — which could hold up to 15,000 spectators — survives. Restorers will gradually add several tiers, using a combination of new stone and recovered ancient fragments, while strengthening retaining walls and other parts of the building.

“The program will have a major impact on the overall aspect of the monument,” Boletis told a press conference.

A decades-long project is already under way to conserve and restore the ancient marble temples on the Acropolis, which includes the complete disassembly and rebuilding of the 5th century B.C. Temple of Athena Nike.

The Dionysos project will be funded by a grant from Athens regional authorities, in cooperation with the Diazoma nonprofit foundation for the protection of the estimated 140 ancient theaters and concert halls that survive throughout Greece.

Following extensive restoration over the past century, some now host summer music and theatrical performances.

But there appears little prospect of that happening at the Theater of Dionysos, despite initial plans after its excavation in the 19th century.

“The idea … was finally abandoned in the mid 1970s,” Boletis said.

RELATED

ATHENS - Village life is proverbially slow.

Top Stories

Associations

ASTORIA – The Pancyprian Choir of NY held its first meeting of 2022 and shared best wishes for the New Year with their annual cutting of the traditional vasilopita at Dionysos Taverna in Astoria on January 24.

Associations

BRONX, NY – In a festive atmosphere, the traditional cutting of the vasilopita was held by the Northern Chios Society of Pelineon Agia Markella in the community hall of Zoodohos Peghe Greek Orthodox Church in the Bronx on January 23.

Society

ATHENS – A major snow storm that had been predicted for days still caught residents in Greece offguard and the New Democracy government scrambling for answers as to why motorists were stuck for hours on major roads.

Video

Prosecutors in Floyd Killing Probe Use-of-Force Training

ST. PAUL, Minn — Prosecutors in the federal trial of three former Minneapolis police officers in George Floyd's killing probed the department's training on use of force, a key issue at the heart of charges that the officers violated Floyd's civil rights.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.