The theatre at Hierapolis was built in the second century AD under the Roman Emperor Hadrian during a period of extensive rebuilding following a devastating earthquake in 60 AD. It was later renovated under Septimus Severus (193-211 AD). At this time, the scaenae frons was modified and decorated with elaborate limestone and marble carvings. Although the exterior is relatively unassuming as viewed from the front, the interior contains one of Anatolia’s most complete and best-preserved collection of Greco-Roman theatre decorations. In 343 AD the scaenae was renovated and the orchestra was altered so that it could hold aquatic displays. In the later years of the Roman Empire the orchestra was converted into a cellar. Renovation work since 1977 has restored many of the arches and a portion of the stage floor. Prior to this date, the stage as well as its arched support system lay in ruins. Recent archaeological evidence shows that the theatre was in use through the 5th and into the 6th century AD. In 532 AD the scaenae, which had been weakened by seismic activity, was repaired.
The amphitheatre is built of stone blocks, located on a flat ground, and is exceptionally well conserved. The amphitheatre of El Jem is the third amphitheatre built on the same place. The belief is that it was constructed by the local proconsul Gordian, who became the emperor as Gordian III.
After decades of neglect, the Mausoleum of Augustus is to be brought alive with a spectacular multimedia experience projected onto its 2,000-year-old walls. An Italian telecommunications company has contributed six million euros for its restoration, with its director promising an elaborate multimedia show that will tell the story of Augustus and ancient Rome.
Mausoleum of Augustus was built in 28 BCE and housed the remains of Emperor Augustus and the rest of the Julio-Claudian family. The building once stood around 120ft high and had a diameter of nearly 300ft. It was topped by a 15ft-tall bronze statue of Augustus. It was converted into a fortress in the Middle Ages and then a bull-fighting ring in the 18th century. It was finally made into a concert hall in the early 20th century before Mussolini ordered all modern additions to be stripped away, in a bid to associate himself with the greatness of Rome’s first emperor, whom he hoped to emulate. Previous efforts to restore the massive tomb have foundered over the years on bureaucracy, inter-departmental squabbling and lack of funding.
The construction of the temple, which was the main religious sanctuary of the city, started in the last half of the 2nd century AD. The preserved inscriptions indicate that emperor Hadrian was responsible for its commission.
The temple stands on a many-stepped podium and was built of marble. It is surrounded by a peristasis in a pseudodipteral arrangement, originally with 15 Ionic columns on its long side and 8 on the short side. The podiom itself measures 33 X 37 meters. Nowadays, only the columns on the western and northern side are still standing.
The temple was dedicated to two deities. Zeus - the ruler of the Olympians - was worshipped in its aboveground section, and the underground part of the building was the place of Cybele cult. Stylistically, the part dedicated to Zeus was built in accordance with the Greek patterns and the underground section - with the Roman ones as the barrel vaults are clearly visible.
The battle scenes depicted on the walls of the building come from much later period. They were made by the Tatars and illustrate their lives and battles fought in the 13th century AD. Nearby the entrance to the temple grounds there is an enclosed area where some interesting fragments of temple decorations are collected. Opposite the temple there are the remains of a small bouleuterion, but its history remains unknown.