It is at the south-east side of the Acropolis, at the south slope of the hill, where we have Dionysus’ theatre. In this theatre, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides first taught their tragedies. In this theatre, Aristophanes presented for the first time his comedies.
Dionysus’ cult came to Athens at sixth century B.C. In the south slope of Acropolis was built the temple of ‘Dionysus Elefthereus’, Dionysus the Liberator. In honour of Dionysus small and plane theatrical sketches were played in the place of Agora. At the beginning however of the fifth century B.C. the Dionysus’ theatre was built, in order to accommodate the festivities in honour of Dionysus. There were more than nine different building phases of the theatre.
At 420 B.C. the temple devoted to Dionysus moved away from the main place of the theatre. At 330 B.C. stone seats were added. At that time, 17.000 people could seat and watch the plays. Roman emperor Hadrian had a special seat reserved only for him at the front line of the seat rows.
It is an unimaginable feeling to have a walk at this theatre and sit at the seats. Suddenly, we find ourselves back in time, watching Antigone fighting her uncle Creon or laughing with Trygaeus’ adventures in Aristophanes’ ‘Peace’. We can feel everything, from the sweat smell of the Athenian earth to the image of the sudden descent of the Acropolis’ south side.
There are so few places in earth that can give us this absolute journey through time!