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.
Cassope Theater (Grand Theater)
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.
General site plan of Cassope from W. Hoepfner and E.L. Schwandner.
Sufficient photographic documentation (archive Ephorate of Antiquities of Preveza)
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)
Kamarina, extended («kallikratis plan») Municipality of Preveza, Preveza County.
The Grand Theater was built in the 3rd century B.C., a period of exceptional prosperity for Cassope, Cassopaia and Epirus in general.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today, the theater (due to the present state of preservation) may be visited only through the archaeological site.
Ministry of Culture / Ephorate of Antiquities of Preveza
Ministry of Culture / Ephorate of Antiquities of Preveza
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