Turkey 2016– Part 16— The Theater at Izmir(Smyrna)

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Sunset over the ocean at Izmir (Smyrna). It is a beautiful seaport town with a lot of history, including a lot of Christian history. Besides the reference to the city in Revelation, there is the residence in this city of Polycarp, a martyr in the second century. Today, efforts are ongoing to unearth the ancient theater, as well as the agora dig which has been going on for years (see the next post). But the theater dig is in its very early days. Like with so many of these hilly cities, the theater was carved out of the side of a hill, in this case, one of the highest hills in Smyrna. Here’s the view from just above the theater dig……smy2tt1

Thus far, the young archaeologist in charge has located the correct site of the theater, due to the few monumental supporting walls left standing. These are the walls which would have help up the skena at the back of the stage area of the theater…. notice the framed stone, just like one finds used by Herod at the temple mount in Jerusalem.
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Here is the view from the top of that supporting wall….smy5 There are a few other partially visible and in tact walls….smy6smy9

Here is the view from the stage area looking back to where all the seats would have been carved out of the side of the hill…. the stairway indicates where one of the central aisles would have been, and probably the theater goes up above the current street into those woods. smy7

Clearly here the work has only just begun. The problem is always financing, because there are so many hundreds of worthy archaeological sites to be dug, indeed thousands.

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