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Two important archaeological sites of the Peloponnese have reopened

The ancient theatre of Megalopolis, which according to Pausanias (2nd century AD) was the largest one in its time, has reopened after a long period of excavation works. The modern town of Megalopolis is built between the cities of Tripoli, Sparta and Kalamata while the theatre is located 3km northwest (on the way to Karytaina) and is part of the Archaeological Site of Megalis Poleos. Megalopolis was founded in 371 BC, after the cohabitation of different Arcadic hamlets with the aid of the Theban general Epameinondas. The town declined during the Late Roman period, while during the Middle Ages its inhabitants dispersed to nearby settlements.

The theatre was constructed by the architect Polykleitos the Younger from Argos (the ancient theatre of Epidaurus is also one of the architect’s renown works) dating back to 370 BC and it reached its apex around the 3rd century BC, an age representing the acme of Megalis Poleos. Epidaurus theatre seated approximately 20.000 persons and apart from theatre events, also hosted the gatherings of representatives coming from 40 united state-cities. The concave structure had a diameter of 145 m; this included two landings (paved diazoma), 17 upper seat rows, 20 lower seat rows and the orchestra with a diameter of approximately 30 m. For the theatre events there was a wooden wheeled stage, which was kept in a special storeroom (skenotheke) and was moved to the theatre area when needed. 

Furthermore, it must be noted that the theatre, apart from its size, was also praised for its exceptional acoustics.
The Thersileion Bouleuterion is located at the north side of this archaeological site, which used to host approximately 16.000 people (archaeological excavations are still in progress), as well as relics from the ancient Agora. Here are the Temple of Zeus Soteros, Philippeian Stoa and part of Myropolidos Stoa, that were connected with the area of the theatre via a bridge over Elissonas River. Furthermore remains of the walls, that once surrounded the city is estimated to have a length of approximately 8.8 kilometers.

 

The archaeological site of Arcadic Orchomenos

The archaeological site of Arcadic Orchomenos, situated near Levidi, Arcadia is now open to visitors. Orchomenos was an arcadic ancient cities, built on a hill, surrounded by walls and had its own currency. Parts of the excavation of the ancient theatre have come to light; the theatre was built during the Hellenistic Era and hosted 4.000 people. You can see the marble thrones where the priests used to sit as well as the altar bearing the inscription “Omonoia” which are kept in excellent condition.

For more information about the operating hours of these two significant archaeological sites in the Peloponnese and the conditions about organized groups visiting the sites, please contact the Ephorate of Arcadic Antiquities here.

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