The Philippopolis Theater was opened during construction
works in the second half of the twentieth century, studied through
archaeological excavations, and in the early 1980s it was restored by the
National Institute for the Monuments of Culture in Bulgaria.
In the construction of the Philippopolis theater, as well as
in the construction of other similar buildings, the Roman architects skillfully
used the natural slope of the terrain to bring the theater. The
amphitheatrically located 28 rows of marble seats are embedded directly into
the ground. A trail separates them into two floors, and steep stairs divide the
floors into sectors. The seats in the top row of the first floor have backs and
were designed for privileged citizens. Visitors to the theater came from two
entrances – east and west.
The seats surround the orchestra (the playing field we call
the scene today). It is semi-circular, with a diameter of about 27 meters.
Behind her a three-storey building rises, the actors are lying in her quarters.
The building was called “skein”, hence later came the name of today’s
The theater was an extremely representative building,
decorated with stone carvings and sculptures, and served not only for
theatrical performances. Here were held meetings of the city administration,
meetings of the city council and even the Thracian Assembly (tracon coynon) of
the organization of the representatives of the guards in the Roman province of
Thrace. On some seats there are inscriptions from which we get information on
the function of the theater and the work of the city administration.
According to the inscription of an architrave (stone beam on
the colonnade), the construction of the theater began with Emperor Trajan,
between 108 and 114, which continued with Emperor Hadrian and even after him.
It is not known exactly when it was completed, but when it happened, it
gathered 3500 people. The theater in Philippopolis was destroyed and burned
down during a barbaric invasion in the 4th century.