This theatre is built into the side of the Acropolis and was funded by Senator Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife. A nice gift to give…. It was completed in 161AD and remained in use until 267AD when the Heruli (a Germanic tribe) came and destroyed it.
The remains of the theatre survived in relatively good condition over the centuries, but it was decided to renovate the site in 1950 to bring it back into use. It seems a shame that the historic elements of the seating area have been lost, although the former facade is still standing, at least in part. Although it’s an open-air theatre today it wasn’t originally, there used to be a grand (and no doubt expensive) cedar wooden roof.
Numerous big names (as in well known people, not those with lots of letters in their surnames) have since performed here, including Pavarotti, Elton John, Sting, Placido Domingo and Jethro Tull. When the sun is shining this must make for a spectacular site for a performance, with the performer looking straight up at the Acropolis. John Cleese is also performing there later this year, I’m sure that will sell out quickly if it hasn’t already.