About Amman Roman Theatre
A famous landmark within Jordan‘s modern capital city, Amman Roman Theatre dates back to the 2nd century AD. The 6,000-seat Roman theatre is one of the world’s best surviving examples of classic Roman amphitheatre architecture.
Amman Roman Theatre history
Built during the peaceful reign of Antonius Pius around 140 AD (some sources claim it was during the reign of Marcus Aurelius) in the Roman city of Philadelphia – now Amman, Jordan – Amman Roman Theatre was a thriving cultural hub built into the hillside.
The south-facing stage was designed to be bathed in sunlight for most of the day while the audience seating remained shaded. The acoustics, as they are in virtually all remaining Roman theatre complexes, are excellent.
The standard three tier layout meant the rulers sat on the bottom, closest to the action, the military and assorted dignitaries took the middle tier and the general public had to squint from the top. The forum in front of the theatre was added by Commodus (famously played by Joaquin Phoenix in the 2001 film Gladiator), although now the only physical remains are a long Corinthian colonnade and some Roman paving stones.
Amman Roman Theatre today
Even today, theatrical and musical performances and other cultural activities are held in the theatre, restored in 1957, including the Amman International Book Fair and musical concerts – most notably the Al-Balad Music Festival. Visitors can also see the restored Odeon on the east side of the forum which could accommodate around 500 spectators and the Nymphaeum, an ornamental fountain dedicated to the water nymphs built in 191 AD.
Getting to Amman Roman Theatre
Situated in the Hashemite Plaza beside the Odeon Theatre, Amman Roman Theatre is easily found on foot while exploring Amman or by car. Raghdan Tourist Terminal with car parking is only minutes walk away.