May 30, 2024 The sun rises from Anatolia

Perinthos Ancient City with the largest theater in Thrace

Perinthos Ancient City, one of the most important ancient cities of Thrace and also the largest theater, was founded in the 6th century BC by communities from the island of Samos.

Perinthos Ancient City is located in Marmara Ereğlisi District of Tekirdağ Province.

Its strategic location, being at the crossroads of trade routes and having fertile agricultural lands made Perinthos an important trade center of the region.

Used as the capital of the province of Thrace during the Roman Empire, the city was renamed Herakleia in 286 AD during the Byzantine period.

Perinthos ancient city

Diodoros, while describing the siege of Perinthos by Philip II in the middle of the 4th century BC, writes that the houses on the foothills of the acropolis looked like people sitting in the seating rows of a theater from a distance.

Perinthos (today Marmaraereğlisi), one of the three major port cities in Antiquity, was a tombolo type port city.

Perinthos ancient city
Photo: Tekirdağ Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism

The city walls of the city have been preserved in the best way until today. The walls surround the city from the north and west, including the acropolis and the lower city walls. Especially the walls in the northwest corner of the Acropolis are partially preserved up to a height of 6 – 7 meters.

In 2021, archaeological excavations started under the direction of Prof. Dr. Zeynep Koçel Erdem, a faculty member of Mimar Sinan University Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Archaeology, unearthed a rich cultural heritage of the ancient period.

Prof. Dr. Zeynep Koçel Erdem

The main ruins of the city include the theater, agora, temples, baths and city walls.

Especially the theater is remarkable in terms of architecture.

Erdem said, “We are excavating the theater of the ancient city. This theater is the biggest theater in Thrace. This place is important because it was the capital at that time.

Gladiator, 3rd century AD from Perinthos. Photo: Wikipedia

It started in the classical period. It already looked like a typical Greek theater with its back to the hillside, then we can say that it was used until the Roman period, even until the end of Rome.”

Stating that the theater unearthed in the excavations is the largest in Thrace, Erdem said, “The dimensions of 90 meters by 130 meters is a very large theater and Turkey’s Thrace, as I said, is the largest known theater in the middle among the ancient cities.”

The steps and seating rows of the theater are buried. It is planned that the theater will be completely uncovered with the upcoming excavations.

Cover Photo: Tekirdağ Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism

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