1,800-year-old Roman theater has been found in Jerusalem | Photo: AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner
In 2017, an approximately 1,800-year-old Roman theatre was discovered in Jerusalem’s Old City adjacent to the Western Wall. The object was probably built during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-138 CE).
The building was probably one of many that were built in the city after Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 CE, after the failed Jewish uprising. Hadrian, wanting to rebuild the city, renamed it a Roman colony and gave the name Aelia Capitolina.
Interestingly, the source texts mentioned Roman theatres in Jerusalem, but so far scientists have not been able to find any building of this type. Scientists believe that the structure was not completely finished and had a semicircular shape. It probably served as a small odeon where both musical and theatrical performances were held; and even assemblies of local authorities.
The building was relatively small and could accommodate about 200 people. Preliminary excavations have brought to light the front row of the auditorium, the orchestra pit and part of the stage. Researchers hope that further excavations will shed more light on the everyday life of the inhabitants of Jerusalem under Roman rule.