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Roman Odeion (Conservatory) of Patras

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The Odeion (Conservatory) of Patras is situated on a low hill in the upper town, beneath the medieval castle, which was the citadel of the ancient city. The Odeion is enclosed by Germanou Street and Sotiriadou Street.

The monument is a little older than the Athenian Odeion of Herodes Atticus (161 AD). The monument was built during the first half of the 2nd century A.D and stopped being used at the end of the 3rd century AD, after a devastating fire.

The “hollow” was supported by a strong outer wall, reinforced by buttresses. Its upper part was supported by ten radially positioned arched compartments and a semicircular arched aisle between the arched structures and the outer wall. The diameter of the hollow is 48 meters, while the diameter of the orchestra which is semicircular is 10 meters.

The hollow is divided into two parts: the lower part and the upper part, separated by a curved aisle (the tier). Its capacity is about 2,200 spectators.

The wall of the stage is 8 meters high and has three arched doors. It preserves a series of recesses, decorated with statues from the time the theatre was being used. The southern facade of the conservatory has five doors to the stage and two to the backstage.

The Roman odeion of Patras was discovered in 1889. The excavation of the monument lasted from 1957 to 1960. The first fixations took place between 1938 -1943, but the form it has today is the result of the restoration carried out by the architect from Patras, Ioannis Vassiliou in collaboration with the Archaeological Society between 1959 -1961.

The monument is open to visitors and hosts performances and events for the Festival of the Municipality of Patras.
Aslamatzidou Zoi
Archaeologist

Director of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Achaia

Name of Monument

Roman odeion of Patras

Category

Conservatory

Brief description

The monument has the typical structure of the open Roman conservatories and a semicircular plan: a hollow divided into two parts: the lower part and the upper part, the semicircular orchestra and the stage construction (foreground – stage – backstage).

Images – Designs

There is a complete photographic documentation of the pathology of the monument in the study “Roman Conservatory of Patras – Proposals for Maintenance and Structural Restoration” by the Civil Engineer of our Ephorate, Ms. M. Mentzini. Also, with regard to the design, there are only two plans of the monument in the archives of the 6th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, scale 1: 100 and 1: 200. Finally, there are old drawings (plans, views, sections) of scale 1:50 and 1:20.

Documentation – Bibliography
  1. Ορλάνδος Α.Κ., Το έργο της Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας, 1957, Αθήνα 1958, Το έργο της Αρχαιολογικής
    Εταιρείας, 1959, Αθήνα 1960, Το έργο της Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας 1961, Το έργο της Αρχαιολογικής
    Εταιρείας, 1961, Αθήνα 1962.
  2. Ορλάνδος Α.Κ., Πρακτικά της εν Αθήναις Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας, 1961, Αθήνα 1964.
  3.  Ορλάνδος, Πρακτικά της εν Αθήναις Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας, 1960, Αθήνα 1966.
  4. Ζαφειρόπουλος Ν., Πρακτικά της εν Αθήναις Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας, 1957, Αθήνα 1962
  5.  Ορλάνδος Α.Κ., Πρακτικά της εν Αθήναις Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας, 1959, Αθήνα 1965.
  6.  Θωμόπουλος Στ., Ιστορία της πόλεως των Πατρών, Πάτρα 1950.
  7.  Τριανταφύλλου Κ., Ιστορικό Λεξικό των Πατρών, Πάτρα 1959.
  8.  BCH 85 (1961), σ.680.
  9.  ΑΔ 16 (1960), σ.136.
  10.  BCH 86 (1962), σ.749.
  11.  Παπαχατζής Ν., Παυσανίου Ελλάδος Περιήγησις, Βιβλίο 7, Αχαϊκά, Αθήνα 1980.
Position

Patra,enclosed by Germanou Street and Sotiriadou Street.

Dating

The monument is a little older than the Athenian Conservatory of Herod (161 AD). The monument was built during the first half of the 2nd century A.D.  Tombs of late Roman times found on the stage of the Conservatory lead to the conclusion that the monument stopped being used in the late 3rd century AD, after a devastating fire, possibly linked to the raid of the Herules.

 

General description of the Monument

The conservatory is situated on a low hill in the upper town, beneath the medieval castle, which was the citadel of the ancient city.The “hollow” was supported by a strong outer wall, reinforced by buttresses. Its upper part was supported by ten radially positioned arched compartments and a semicircular arched aisle between the arched structures and the outer wall. The diameter of the hollow is 48 meters, while the diameter of the orchestra which is semicircular is 10 meters. The hollow which faces towards the South, is divided into two parts: the lower part and the upper part which is separated by a curved aisle (the tier). In the lower part there are four bleachers with sixteen rows of seats and in the upper part, there are seven. They are directly accessible with three built in stairs leading to the tier. Its capacity is about 2,200 spectators.

The wall of the stage is 8 meters high and has three arched doors. It preserves a series of recesses, twelve rectangular at the top, and eight arched ones below, decorated with statues from the time the theatre was being used. The foreground was accessible by two built in stairs, one on the right and one on the left, while on the wall there were recesses facing towards the hollow. The orchestra is separated from the hollow by a small and low marble wall, perhaps because there were also naval races taking place on the grounds.

The southern facade of the conservatory has five doors to the stage and two to the backstage.

Current situation

After the restoration work, most of the hollow is saved. In the upper section of the tier, seven bleachers of seven rows of seats have been restored. However, the retaining outer wall, in the northern section of the hollow, is not maintained at its original height and probably there were a few more rows of seats. The wall of the southern facade of the conservatory is partially preserved.

Surveys - Interventions

The conservatory was discovered in 1889 while digging the earth in order to build the new city harbor. At first, a section of the hollow and the passage ways were visible. The excavation of the monument lasted from 1957 to 1960. The first fixations took place between 1938 -1943, but the form it has today is the result of the restoration carried out by the architect from Patras, Ioannis Vassiliou in collaboration with the Archaeological Society between 1959 -1961. During the restoration, the built in seats in the hollow were covered with white marble slabs. Also, restored were the built-in stairways, (having the height of half a seat) between the bleachers. The marble coating was confined to the hollow section below the aisle. In 2007, small-scale work was carried out by supporting the marble structure of the passage ways.

Permitted uses

Visiting and hosting shows and events in the framework of the festival organized by the city.

History of modern uses

Hosting various summer performances and events organized in the context of local festivals, which have been happening for the last 30 years.

 

Additional Information

The monument is under the jurisdiction of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, while the issues of the maintenance of the newer stage as well as of the newer wooden sanitary areas are managed by the Municipality of Patras as the main body of cultural events.

Copyright

Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the 6th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities

Jurisdiction

Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the 6th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities

Latitude

38.243156°

Longitude

21.738312°

NameDateAmount (€)
Arsakeia -Tositseia Schools100.00
Total
€100.00
Balance
€100.00