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THE THEATRE OF PHILIPPOPOLIS

The ancient theatre is one of the principal public buildings of the ancient Philippopolis. In addition to being a cultural centre, it also played an important role in the public and political life of the city and of the Roman province Thracia. Its construction is dated to the beginning of the 2nd century, at the time of Emperor Traianus. This dates the building to the time of the most intensive theatre construction in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire. The layout of the theatre reveals certain specificities that prove that it had been used not only for theatre performances, but that it was also used for gladiator and hunting games, which were popular in the Roman world. It underwent several reconstructions, which did not introduce essential changes in its general appearance. The theatre stopped functioning in the 5th century after a fire and a devastating earthquake, and was transformed into stone quarry.

ARCHITECTURE OF THE THEATRE
After the considerable damage caused by natural disasters and the inexorable time, 19 of the 28 rows of the amphitheatrical theatron have been preserved. An important contribution to the restoration of the theatre in 1979-1981, in addition to its well preserved ruins, can be seen in the precise archaeological exploration, which revealed its architectural proto-image.
Built on the southern slope of Trimontium, in the saddle between the hills Taxim Tepe and Djambaz Tepe, the theatre is distinguished by an architectural solution that is optimally adapted to the terrain configuration and urban planning composition of the ancient city. The theatre is a brilliant example of the intertwining of theatre construction in the Hellenistic centres of Asia Minor and the local Thracian construction and decorative traditions.

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