The Roman Amphitheatre is one of the main attractions in the city. It consists of two halves in the form of horseshoes. The Greeks built it in the second century, at the height of the Roman era. Also, it kept operating until the 6th century. At that time, the Arabs invaded Egypt so that it lost its primary sense. In 1960, Polish archaeologists carried out excavations at the site of the ruins of Napoleon Fort. As a result of these excavations, archaeologists found a Roman amphitheatre. It was one of the very first pieces of Roman architecture found in Alexandria.
Location of the Roman Amphitheatre
The Ancient Roman Theatre stands in the very centre of Alexandria, in Kom el-Dikka. More precisely, this place exists near the train station.
The Structure of The Roman Amphitheatre
The theatre is one of the ancient architectural monuments, which has survived quite well to our times. It is the one and only Roman theatre in Egypt. Thus, this place enjoys a traditional greek style.
The arena consists of two main parts: the auditorium – a lecture hall; the skene – a performance hall. Between these halls, there was a place where the orchestra existed. The theatre hall is 42 meters in diameter. Outside, the Greeks initially decorated the theatre building with high columns. However, the Romans rebuilt and restored this theatre after that.
There are 13 terraces, with a flat platform in the centre, at the lowest level. The Greeks made the bench seats of marble, white or grey; however, they made the first row of red granite. On each of them, you can see carved Roman numerals. The oldest part of the theatre is about 17 rows with chairs, accommodating about 800. Slightly below these places, there are rooms where the actors were before going on stage, where they could change clothes and store the necessary props. Most likely, this building had a roof that protected all spectators from rain and intense sun. Along with the ruins, to this day, there exist fallen capitals and columns. The top collapsed in the 6th century at the time of a strong earthquake.
As time went on, the theatre expanded significantly. Here were located only places at the highest level for people from the upper strata of society. The archaeologists carried out excavations under a Muslim cemetery in Alexandria. As a result of these excavations, archaeologists found this perfectly preserved Roman theatre after 30 years. The place consists of all galleries, sections of mosaic floor and 800 seats for spectators. Some recordings on the ground for spectators and on the theatre walls prove that during the Byzantine era. This place witnessed that gladiatorial battles, as well as the running of chariot races. The northern part of the theatre was most likely part of the university.