Ancient Theatre of Ohrid, North Macedonia
Ancient theatre of Ohrid is an archaeological site from the end of the 3rd century until the beginning of the 2nd century BC located in the city of Ohrid, Macedonia .
The antique theatre is located at the foot of the eastern slope of the higher Ohrid hill, under the Samoil fortress , in the immediate vicinity of one of the main entrances in the Old Town , Gorna Porta.
The theatre was built at the end of the 3rd or the beginning of the 2nd century, in the period of the late Hellenism, and was intended for displaying dramatic, musical and poetic plays by the lovers of theatre art.
The theatre was built in the reputation of the famous Greek stone buildings of this kind, with a rich architectural decoration, especially the theatre building that was decorated with a frieze of bas-relief plates that included scenes from the life of the gods. On two such marble plates, which are preserved at the Ohrid Museum today, the god Dionysus is presented in association with the Muses.
Some of the then city prefects had bought and own seats in the theatre, such as Crisp and Topos as great lovers of theatrical art because their names are still engraved in the stone blocks of the seats. Immediately after the Roman conquests of these regions in 148 BC, the theatre was probably for a very short time adjusted to the needs of the Roman way of life. The building was rearranged into a theatre with an arena of gladiatorial strugglesand fights with wild beasts, with several of the lower row seats being demolished and several cages for animals were built in their place, and the orchestra with honorary seats was enclosed with a firewall. Later in the upper, outer zone was built an epitheterone, which increased the capacity of the theatre to 5,000 spectators.
It is thought that with the euphoria that occurred in the beginning of the 4th century of the new era, when St. Erasmus Antiochus , the first Christian missionary who came to Ohrid , converted Christianity to 25,000 people, destroyed all pagan objects in the city. Probably in the destruction of the theater, the material was damaged, and the material from its seats and other objects was later used to build early Christian basilicas and many other sacred and profane objects.
The first assumptions that there was a theatre in the ancient Lychnidus (today's Ohrid ) was given by the Russian art historian Nikodim Kondakov at the very beginning of the 20th century , and already during 1935 , when the first archaeological excavations were carried out, these assumptions were confirmed and the theatre was partially discovered. Later, during the excavations carried out in the period 1959-1960, the exact location and size of the theatre were determined.
With systematic excavations, started in 1977 and after a six-year interruption in 1984 , the places where the entrances and the theatre building, the orchestra with honorary seats and the stretching of the arena are located, and nine rows of seats were discovered.
In 1999 , the project for its complete discovery and putting into operation began, and since 2001 , on the stage of the open reconstructed space of the ancient theatre, after twenty centuries, drama performances, musical performances and various other manifestations are held.