3E Cultural Routes

The amphitheater


The amphitheater of Dyrrah was built at the beginning of the century II, during the reign of Emperor Trajan.  The amphitheater has the shape of an elliptical cylinder with a large diameter of 136 m and a height of 20 m. The amphitheater consists of the arena and the staircase, which in the west rests on the slope of the hill, while in the east it rises free. The staircase was separated from the arena by a 2.5 m high parapet, which prevented wild animals from jumping onto the staircase. The parapet was traversed by a series of vaulted passages, through which wild animals were brought into the arena. Three lanes 1.50 m wide divided the 50-row staircase into three sectors. The third street, at the top of the staircase, served the sailors for laying over the amphitheater the sail, a canopy of thin cloth that protected the spectators from the sun and rain. The galleries were covered with brick vaults and lit by candles or torches. In the great south-north axis of the ellipse, passed the two main entrances of the amphitheater, which communicated directly with the arena. Through the southern gate, “Porta Triumphalis”, the gladiator parade passed, while through the northern gate, “Porta Libitensis”, named after the goddess of funerals, gladiators, and slaughtered animals were taken out. Stone seats were placed on the staircase built with a pozzolanic concrete structure. The number of spectators fluctuates between 37 – 50 thousand people. These dimensions and this capacity rank the amphitheater of Dyrrah, namely the city, among the 8 largest of the time. The end of the amphitheater is marked by the devastating tsunami of 345. This is also evidenced by the mortuary church in its galleries, from the second half of the 4 century and the nearby necropolis.