Theatre

 

The tunnel leading to the most prestigious seats. Visiting emperors used to pass through itThe tunnel leading to the most prestigious seats. Visiting emperors used to pass through it

The theatre of Philippopolis was constructed, in the old Greek fashion, between two of the hills of the city's acropolis. At the time, the Romans had already developed their famous arch, an architecture breakthrough that made possible the construction of huge buildings like the Colosseum in Rome. But this method was too expensive. The citizens of Philippopolis opted for the cheaper version. Instead of wasting money on a multi-stored and multi-arched structure, they placed the cavea, or the semi-circular part with the seat rows, on the slopes of the hills.

The marvelous vista towards the Thracian valley and the nearby Rhodope was a bonus.

The 28-seat rows of the Philippopolis theatre were a showcase of practicality combined with social segregation. They were horizontally divided in two equal parts, each with 14 rows of seats. The division's purpose was twofold – it made moving between rows easier and divided cheaper seats for hoi polloi in the upper section from the expensive ones in the lower section.