– Amman is a modern city, built on the sands of time. Hiding beneath cultural diversity, modern establishments and Western developments, lies a rich history of an age-old heritage. The capital of Jordan is known for its many iconic monuments and attractions, but deep in the heart of this magnificent city nestles the Roman Theater, Amman’s most famous archaeological artefact. Here’s a brief background to the epic landmark.
The theater was built in the period 138-161 CE, which dates back to the reign of Roman emperor Antoninus Pius. The sole centrepiece of the city, the magnificent masterpiece was designed to be northerly-oriented, to keep the sun off its spectators, and could seat up to 6,000 people on its steep stairs.
Like any other Roman Theater in the world, it was constructed upon the same three building blocks: the cavea, the orchestra and the scaenae frons. The cave is nothing more than the seating space that contained the largest number of spectators. The highest rank was known as ‘the gods’; although far from the stage, this section offered a good view, thanks to the lofty position and steepness of the stairs. The orchestra, on the other hand, is the area directly in front of the stage, reserved for VIPs to ensure they didn’t miss a split second of the action. The two stories rising from the stage upwards are the saenae fons, and were used as a backstage space of sorts.