Ancient theatre of Aegeira
A local gem and undoubtedly the reference point of the entire area, the ancient theatre of Aegeira is one of our country’s most important monuments. A unique characteristic makes visitors’ experience transcend magic, creating a feeling of methexis. This is that 2/3 of this rare example of ancient architecture is not constructed, but rather carved on natural, conglomerate rock, naturally abundant in the area and forming a structural element almost across Achaia. Stone seats were built in the remaining area.
Aware of its unique character, it stands proud at a fantastic location, at an altitude 350m above sea level, offering an amazing view of the Corinthian Gulf and an additional reason for a visit.
Situated on the northern side of Achaean Aegeira, at Palaiokastro Aegon, it was founded in the 3rd century B.C. and was reconstructed by the Romans in the 2nd century. It was part of a large-scale building project, which included many more monuments in the ancient agora of the city, such as small temples around the theatre, which also revealed great finds during the excavations.
The theatre was discovered in 1916, following a systematic excavation by the Austrian Archaeological Institute at Athens, started by archaeologist Otto Walter. The excavations stopped during World War II to start again in the 1970s. The theatre has now been completely revealed and fully studied.
It has a capacity of up to 3,000 spectators and consists of a U-shaped hollow, two diazomata, a three-storey stage and orchestra, also carved in the rock, and featuring a trench for rainwater drainage.
Visitors should respect its fragile nature and refrain from climbing on its seats, as the brittle rock it is carved on makes the theatre particularly vulnerable.
Luckily, conservation works have already started with a view to restore all – unfortunately significant – damage and to promote this great monument across Greece.
The theatre has now been brought back to life, as a venue for cultural events that respect its history and create a fruitful dialogue between past and present.
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