Roman theater (Amman)
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Amman's Roman Theatre is a 6,000-seat, 2nd-century Roman theatre. A famous landmark in the Jordanian capital, it dates back to the Roman period when the city was known as Philadelphia. The theatre and the nearby Odeon are flanking the new Hashemite Plaza from the south and the east respectively, while the Roman Nymphaeum is just a short stroll away in south-westerly direction.
The theatre was built during the reign of Antonius Pius (138-161 CE). The large and steeply raked structure could seat about 6,000 people: built into the hillside, it was oriented north to keep the sun off the spectators.
It was divided into three horizontal sections (diazomata). Side entrances (paradoi) existed at ground level, one leading to the orchestra and the other to the stage. Rooms behind these entrances now house the Jordan Museum of Popular Tradition on the one side, and the Jordan Folklore Museum on the other side.
The highest section of seats in a theatre, known in British English as "the gods", even though far from the stage, offer here excellent sightlines, while the actors can be clearly heard, owing to the steepness of the cavea.
The theatre is now used as a venue for cultural activities including the Amman International Book Fair, the Amman Marathon prize ceremony, and musical concerts, most notably the Al-Balad Music Festival.
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