Restoration of ancient Greek theatre underway

Already one of Turkey’s most enjoyable getaways for the discerning tourist, Datca at the confluence of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas will soon have even more to offer with the planned restoration of the 2,600-year-old theatre of Knidos.
The ancient theatre will be opened to musical and stage performances once the
restoration is complete [Credit: DHA]
The ancient theatre will be opened to musical and stage performances once the restoration is complete, according to local officials.

“The project will be evaluated by the Mugla Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board, and if it is approved, it will be put into effect. The seating places and eastern and western vaults of the theater will be restored, and walking platforms will be constructed. A platform will also be organized for performances. Also, the theatre will be lit,” said Datca District Gov. Hamdi Uncu.

The project, which is being conducted in consultation with architects, engineers and archaeologists, is set to be finished in eight months.

Cultural and art events

Uncu said the project would be coordinated by Selcuk University Professor Ertekin Doksanalti, who is heading the Knidos excavations.

Uncu said the 5,000-person capacity theatre would host cultural and art events.

“Knidos is a city which gave importance to culture and arts in the ancient era with its two theatres and an Odeon building. The theatre, which is located on the coast of the trade port in the south of the city, is one of the most splendid structures in Knidos. It was the first structure that visitors, who arrived in the city via the sea, saw there. Its current condition is dangerous for visitors. This is why the project aims to restore and enhance the theatre. On the other hand, the theatre, which will be enlightened inside and outside, will offer a visual feast to visitors,” Uncu said.

The theatre in Knidos was built in a Graeco-Roman style, while the orchestra section is in the shape of a horseshoe. The theatre, which originally had architectural blocks, columns and sculptures decorating the stage, also has two entrances in the east and the west. The theatre is believed to have been built in the second century B.C. before taking its final shape between the first and second centuries A.D. Since then, the theatre has undergone numerous restorations.

The ancient theatre is being restored as part of a Southern Aegean Development Agency (GEKA) project that has been allocated a budget of 940,000 Turkish Liras. Some 75 percent of the budget will be met by GEKA, while the remainder will be provided by the Datca District Governor’s Office and the General Directorate of Cultural Artifacts and Museums.