Delphic Cultural Heritage Days 2021
The Ancient Theatre of Mieza
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The Ancient Theatre of Zea is located in the Bay of Zea (Pasalimani) and directly neighbors the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus. Based on an inscribed column that has been discovered, the theatre is dated to the 2nd century BC. It appears to have been modeled after the Theatre of Dionysus in Athens. The monument follows the characteristic three-part layout of a Hellenistic theatre, namely a seating area (koilon), a performance space (orchestra), and a stage building (skene). Today, what is mainly visible is the base (hewn stones on which the seats were placed).
DIAZOMA’s journey in the Ancient Theatre of Zea began in March 2010, when DIAZOMA President Mr. Stavros Benos visited the theatre of Zea as part of his tour around the ancient theatres of Piraeus. There, Mr. Benos met local bodies, and they discussed ways to enhance and promote the theatre (see here). The urgent need for the theatre’s protection to preserve its fragile materials arose from this meeting. DIAZOMA also recommended that more general urban planning interventions (pedestrianization) take place in the two modern roads Filellinon and Charilaou Trikoupi, which frame the theatre to the east and west, to allow the monument to breathe.
Two years later, in 2012, DIAZOMA visited the space anew and held meetings with institutional bodies, aimed at determining the steps which needed to be taken. In 2014, with DIAZOMA’s contribution, a Programme Agreement was signed between the Ministry of Culture and the Region of Attica for 70,000 euros towards the production of a study on the ancient theatre’s enhancement and promotion. The Agreement included both the preparatory work that would be required to produce the study and the studies themselves (see here).
In February 2015, the competent Ephorate of Antiquities commissioned the architectural study for the restoration, enhancement, and promotion of the Ancient Theatre of Zea, within the framework of the project “Production of a Study for the enhancement and promotion of the Ancient Theatre of Zea”. The study was approved by the Central Archaeological Council in 2016. At present, the implementation of the study needs to be incorporated into a European funding programme. The theatre’s restoration is mainly based on the “reconstruction” of the koilon as a metal construction, which will rest on the ancient remains and allow the re-use of the theatre.
The theatre’s restoration will mark both the enhancement and promotion of the monument and the regeneration of the wider area. The goal of the municipality of Piraeus and the West Attica, Piraeus and Islands Ephorate of Antiquities is to transform the city block that encloses the theatre, as well as the old and new Archaeological Museum, into a center of culture.
Detailed Progress of Works at the Theatre:
You can visit the Ancient Theatre of Zea website here.