The word “theatre” derives from the Greek “theatron”, which means “a place of seeing.” Large semi – circular, open air structures with their excellent acoustics are visible today at many archaeological sites. An excellent paradigm is the theatre of Delphi, located in the north – west corner of the sanctuary of Pythian Apollo.
It is the largest building of the archaeological site, initially built by Parnassus limestone. Constructed on 4th c. B.C. and restored, according to inscriptions, on 160/159 B.C., it was funded by Eumenes II, king of Pergamon. Later on, in 67 B.C a platform with relief sculptures depicting scenes from the life of Hercules, was added. The stage, of which only the foundations remain, was probably divided into the proscenium and the stage proper. The theatre had a total capacity of 4,200-4,500 spectators placed on 35 rows of seats.
It is possible, according to historians, that during the early years of the theatre the spectators sat directly at the ground or on wooden seats. Besides all the reconstruction works that the theatre suffers throughout the years, it has kept its basic structures: the stone seats, a round stage and an orchestra. The monument acquired both a spiritual and artistic value mainly because of its reputation due to the vocal and instrumental music games, part of famous "Pythian Games. For that reason, during antiquity, the reputation of the theatre was the same with the ancient stadium in Ancient Olympia. Today it hosts ancient plays and other cultural events, mostly during summer.