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Theater of Cassope

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The ancient theater of Cassope is built in the southern foothills of Zaloggo and overlooks the peninsula of Preveza, the Ambracian Gulf, the Ionian Sea, the island of Lefkada and the Acarnanian mountains.  It was originally built in the 3rd  BC.   Two polygonal retaining walls, reinforced with buttresses, support the two ends of the koilon (the seating area or auditorium), which is separated by an intervening diazoma (horizontal walkway) into two main seating zones, the lower one consisting of twenty-four rows of stone seats and the upper one of twelve rows. At the top of the auditorium a wider walkway is protected by an outer wall that has an opening, possibly facilitating the exit of spectators from the upper part of the theater. Eleven stairways divide the theater into ten kerkides (vertical seating zones), the ones  at the two edges having half the width of the others. The orchestra of the theatre, is unique, since it does not form a full circle, but an arc greater than a semicircle. The skene (backstage building) is rectangular, flanked by two paraskenia (wings) which extend on either side of the orchestra and contain the proskenion (stage), which has six columns on its facade. The theater  would have had a seating capacity of approximately 5.000 – 6.000 people.

George Riginou
Archaeologist

#My Kassopi - act4Greece

Monument Name

Cassope Theater (Grand Theater)

Category

Theater

Short Description

The Grand Theater was built in the 3rd century B.C. on the slopes of the North Western edge of the ancient city, having an unobstructed view of the Preveza Peninsula, the Ambracian Gulf , the Ionian Sea, and the Acarnanian mountains.

 

 

Images – Prints

General site plan of Cassope from W. Hoepfner and E.L. Schwandner.

Sufficient photographic documentation (archive Ephorate of Antiquities of Preveza)

 

 

Documentation - Bibliography

Leake, Travels in northern Greece, I, ΙV, London (1835)

Σ. Δακαρης, ΠΑΕ 1952-1955, 1977-1983

N.G.L. Hammond, Epirus, The Geography, the ancient remains, the history and the topography of Epirus and adjacent areas, Oxford (1967)

Dakaris, Cassopaia and the Elean Colonies, Ancient Greek Cities 4, Athens (1971)

Σ. Δάκαρης, Κασσώπη, Νεώτερες Ανασκαφές 1977-1983, Ιωάννινα (1984 & 1989)

Κ. Γραβάνη, Τοπογραφικά Κασσωπαίας, Αφιέρωμα στον  N.G.L. Hammond, Μακεδονικά, Παράρτημα αρ. 7, Θεσσαλονίκη (1997)

L. Schwandner, Kassope, The city in whose territory Nikopolis was founded, Foundation and Destruction, Nikopolis and Northwestern Greece. The archaeological evidence for the city destructions, the foundation of Nikopolis and the synoecism, Monographs of the Danish Institute at Athens 3 (2001) [επιμ. Έκδοσης J. Isager]

Θ. Κοντογιάννη, Κασσώπη. Συνοπτικός οδηγός του αρχαιολογικού χώρου, Ιωάννινα (2006)

Μελέτη Ανάδειξης αρχαιολογικού χώρου Κασσώπης, Δ. Ζαλόγγου – Β΄ Φάση, ΛΓ΄ ΕΠΚΑ (2009)

Position

Kamarina, extended («kallikratis plan») Municipality of Preveza,  Preveza County.

 

Chronology

The Grand Theater was built in the 3rd century B.C., a period of exceptional prosperity for Cassope, Cassopaia and Epirus in general.

 

 

General Description of the Monument

The Grand Theater of the city was built in the 3rd century and is positioned beneath the northwestern edge of the city, having an unobstructed view of the Preveza Peninsula, the Ambracian Gulf, the Ionia Sea, Lefkada Island and the Acarnanian mountains.

Two polygonal retaining walls, reinforced with buttresses, support the two ends of the cavea, divided by a diazoma (horizontal walkway) into two sections with twenty-four (24) rows of stone seats on the lower level and twelve (12) rows respectively on the upper. At the top of the Theater a wider aisle is protected by an external wall, which has an opening, which probably facilitated the viewers’ exit from the upper part of the Theater. Eleven (11) staircases divided the theater into ten (10) stands, with the two ends having half the width of the main staircase.

The Theater orchestra is not formed in a complete circle but in an arc larger than a semicircle.

The stage is rectangular and is flanked by two wings that protrude towards the orchestra, among which six columns are projected on the facade.

The Theater is estimated to accommodate 5.000-6.000 spectators.

Existing Situation

Over the years, the ancient city was abandoned. The Cassope Theater became covered with wild vegetation, which in combination with the continuous falling of rocks destroyed important parts of the Theater. Today, the Theater is covered to a large extent by one layer of soil covering another.

The future works of the monument will make the monument itself accessible to the general public, and later on, possibly under certain conditions, will be able to also host theatrical performances and musical events.

Surveys – Interventions

Cleaning, clearing and deforestation (de-weeding) of the monument and its surroundings areas on an annual basis. In the beginning of the 21st century, the fallen rocks that covered the Theater and had destroyed the section of the Theater orchestra were removed by machinery.

Authorized uses

The  enhancement works on the monument will make it accessible to the general public as a part of the archaeological site which until today it did not have  the necessary infrastructure (access to the monument, etc.) and therefore is not easily accessible. The monument, due to its exceptional position and the view it commands – under certain conditions – will be able to welcome theatrical performances and musical events.

History of modern use

Today, the theater (due to the present state of preservation) may be visited only through the archaeological site.

Copyright

Ministry of Culture / Ephorate of Antiquities of Preveza

Jurisdiction

Ministry of Culture / Ephorate of Antiquities of Preveza

Latitude

39.14687805359357°

Longitude

20.671849250793457°

Altitude

617 m.

NameDateAmount (€)
Ilias Konstantopoulos24/07/2018500.00
Athanasios Triantos16/02/201820.00
Sitsa Kalatzi5.00
Marina Kastrinaki5.00
Alexandros Kontogouris5.00
Amaryllis Kontogouri5.00
Markos Kontogouris5.00
Irini Panagiotarou5.00
Filippos and Argiro Kapsali10.00
Angelos and Io Bakopoulos10.00
Christodoulos Zacharis20.00
Foteini Feta30.00
Spyridon Papachristos60.00
Nikolaos Giannoulis100.00
Stefanos Tsolakidis100.00
1st Gymnasium of Gerakas345.00
Anastasios Pappas150.00
Stratos Ioannou300.00
Gerasimos Bellos & Co L.P.325.00
Somewhere We Know838.56
Andreas Anastasopoulos500.00
Polyxeni Radou1.000.00
Diazoma Association1.000.00
Paul & Alexandra Canellopoulos Foundation Paul & Alexandra Canellopoulos Foundation9.900.00
National Bank of Greece6.000.00
D.Papaioannou company200.00
Evaggelos Zervas250.00
1st Gymnasium of Philippiada65.00
Johan Strypsteen100.00
Demetris Karvoutzis100.00
Unknown depositors70.00
Eleni Kostayiannaki30.00
Konstantinos Zaferiou50.00
Tryfon Valassopoulos30.00
Marios Nikou250.00
Irene Vallianatou70.00
Velissariou Bosmans50.00
Vassilios Katsanakis20.00
Christos Katsanakis30.00
KOURAFAS Somewhere we know252.00
Total
€22.805.56

Expenditures

ExpenditureDateAmount (€)
Ancient theater of Cassope 1st part of tax for the study (31-08-2015)1.880.00
Ancient theater of Cassope 1st part of the study9.420.80
Ancient theater of Cassope final part for study880.88
Ancient theater of Cassope guided tours for students1.620.00
Ancient theater of Cassope tax for the study169.40
Ancient theater of Cassope token reward for contributions up to €1,0003.718.40
ANCIENT THEATRE OF CASSOPE ΦΟΡΟΣ ΞΕΝΑΓΗΣΗΣ270.00
ΑΡΧΑΙΟ ΘΕΑΤΡΟ ΚΑΣΣΩΠΗΣ ΤΡΑΠΕΖΙΚΑ ΕΞΟΔΑ – ΦΟΡΟΙ ΤΟΚΩΝ0.01
Total
€17.959.49
Balance
€4.846.07
  • On Saturday 13 June 2009 the first visit of the president of the ‘DIAZOMA’ Association, Mr. Stavros Benos, to the ancient theatre of Kassopi took place, in the framework of his tour of the ancient theatres of the prefectures of Preveza and Arta, where he met with all local agencies regarding the promotion of the theatre of Kassopi. (link)
  • Subsequently, ‘DIAZOMA’ opened a “piggy bank” (an electronic bank account) for the ancient theatre of Kassopi. (link)
  • Through the work ‘Promotion of the neighbourhood of the theatre of ancient Kassopi’ which had been incorporated in the Operational Programme ‘Thessaly – Central Greece – Epirus 2007-2013’ of the NSRF, with a total budget of €300,000, the following works were implemented: clearing the monument and the surrounding space of wild vegetation, test cuts in the streets of the ancient city leading to the theatre, systematic archaeological cleaning of the western polygon retaining wall of the koilon, the four western kerkides, the orchestra, and the skene structure of the theatre.
  • In 2015 ‘DIAZOMA’ assigned the following plans that were deemed necessary for the restoration and overall promotion of the ancient theatre of Kassopi:
    • architectural plan to architects Ms Ioulia Stamou and Mr Leonidas Leontaris,
    • structural restoration plan to civil engineer Mr Konstantinos Papantonopoulos,
    • geotechnical plan and plan for the reduction in the risk of collapse of the rock behind the ancient theatre of Kassopi to the ‘EDAFOS ENGINEER CONSULTANTS S.A.’ Company.
  • From September to December 2017 ‘DIAZOMA’ and the platform act4greece of the National Bank of Greece implemented a crowdfunding programme for the ancient theatre of Kassopi. This programme raised through the power of so many people the amount of €80,500, which was used to cover the cost of assigning the plans. (video)
  • On Wednesday 19 October 2016 at hotel Dioni Boutique in Preveza the crowdfunding programme for the promotion of the ancient theatre of Kassopi was presented. The event was co-organised by the Regional Unit of Preveza, the National Bank of Greece, and the ‘DIAZOMA’ Association. (link)
  • On Friday 11 November 2016 in the central hall of the Small Athens Stock Exchange the crowdfunding programme for the promotion of the ancient theatre of Kassopi was presented. (link)
  • The preliminary plan for the restoration and overall promotion of the ancient theatre of Kassopi has already been completed.
  • On Tuesday 26 July 2016 the plan was approved by the C.A.C.
  • The final plan for the restoration of the theatre was also delivered by the researchers.
  • In July 2018 the C.A.C. approved:
    • the plan for the restoration and overall promotion of the ancient theatre of Kassopi (architectural, structural restoration),
    • the plan for the preservation and fixing of the structural material of the ancient theatre of Kassopi,
    • the geotechnical plan and plan for the reduction in the danger of the rock behind the ancient theatre of Kassopi and
    • the proposal for the creation of the work site road at the archaeological site of Kassopi, Regional Unit of Preveza, Region of Epirus.
  • Implementation is under way of the work ‘Restoration – Promotion of the ancient theatre of Kassopi (Phase A)’ through the programme ‘Cultural route of the ancient theatres of Epirus’, with €1,000,000 of funding (Priority Axis ‘Protection of the environment and sustainable growth’ of the Regional Operational Programme of Epirus). (CURRENTLY)
  • Monitoring and completing works. (MOVING FORWARD)

 

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