Ancient theatre of Delos to be restored

The Central Archaeological Council (KAS) of the Greek ministry for culture and tourism has given green light to the restoration of the ancient theatre of Delos, one of the most important religious centres of ancient Greece, an islands of the Cyclades where Apollo, god of light, was born according to mythology. 

The theatre at Delos [Credit: TANN]
It is no coincidence that the centre of the theatre, the orchestra, is considered to be the brightest point in the Mediterranean in a study of the University of Athens. The ancient theatre of Delos is one of the few that were completely built in marble. Its construction started around 314 BC and ended around 70 years later, in 250 BC. In 88 BC, the theatre, which has a capacity of up to 6,500 spectators, was abandoned after the Mithridates plundered the island. Today, exactly 2,100 years later, the Central Archaeological Council approved a project for the restoration of the monument. 

The project was presented by engineer Constantinos Zampas and his collaborators Gerasimos Thomas and Irini Doudoumis, and is an initiative of the "Diazoma" organisation. It is based on a study carried out by Philip Fraisse and Jean Ch. Moretti of the French School of Archaeology, who started the first excavations by the end of the 19th century. 

Several small interventions and cleanup operations will protect the theatre against the ravages of time and will restore its lost splendour. The actual restoration work will include moving and labelling the architectonic pieces in the area, protection of the rock surfaces to make it easier for rainwater to flow away and the protection of containment walls. The operation will cost around 1.5 million euros, according to the Greek press. No new marble will be used in the project. 

Hopes are high that after the project, the thousands of tourists who visit the island every year will also visit the theatre. 

According to engineer Zampas, the theatre may even be used for small events after its restorations, hosting up to 200 people. Currently the theatre does not look at all like its original form due to the many architectonical pieces lying around everywhere, the thick vegetation and the debris that has accumulated in the area.  

Source: ANSAMed [March 15, 2012]

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