This theatre, built against the slope of Mt Panayır, was one of the
Aegean’s largest, measuring 60m from the stage to the top of the galleries. The
auditorium held 24,000 spectators, with another thousand in the vaulted galleries, and
the stage facade was adorned with niches, columns, reliefs and statues. The former Roman capital’s thoroughfares and theatres are atriumph of marble and stone.
Ephesus’ third-largest street is currently closed due to excavations. Instead, you’ll cross
the Lower Agora , a 110-sq-metre former textile and food market that once had a massive
After exiting, you’ll see the Great Theatre . Originally built under Hellenistic King
Lysimachus, it was reconstructed by the Romans. Seating rows are pitched slightly steeper
as they ascend, meaning that upper-row spectators still enjoyed good views and acoustics. The role of Ephesus as the venue for social and cultural events that is critical to understanding the social value of the place for the local population as well as for transient visitors. Three of the
ancient monuments have long served a modern social purpose. The great theater of Ephesus has been the venue for two major festivals-the Selçuk Efes Festival, which features traditional Turkish dancers and musicians, and the International İzmir Festival, which attracts classical musicians and international superstars who regularly fill the theater to its capacity of twenty thousand. For the past thirty-three years, a traditional local festival-known as the Camel Wrestling Festival-has been held every January in the ancient stadium, making it the longest-running and most popular Ephesian event of recent times. Since its restoration in 1978, the Library of Celsus has been used for a variety of more intimate social gatherings and cultural events. These festivals and other events have enhanced the social and cultural life of the local population and have made the site once again part of the civic fabric of a community.