The Roman Theatre (the Amphitheatre), the city of Plovdiv
Dimitar Ruykov

The Roman Theatre (the Amphitheatre), the city of Plovdiv


The Roman Theatre was one of the main public buildings of ancient Plovdiv or as it was called then - Philipopolis. Apart from being a cultural venue, it played an important role for the social and political life of the town and the entire Roman province of Thrace, as the edifice was Seat of the Thracian Provincial Assembly as well. Built in the time of the Emperor Marcus Ulpius Trajan in the beginning of the 2nd century in the saddle between Dzhambaz Tepe and Taksim Tepe (i.e. the hills of Dzhambaz and Taksim), it is one of the best preserved antique theaters in the world.


Being an example of the typical Roman theatre arrangement, the places of honor at the Philipopolis amphitheatre were inscribed with the names of nobles. City authorities, judicial officials, friends of the emperor and others had their places assigned in the Antique theatre, as a consequence of the role and the rank they had in the society.

Presumably a major part of the Roman spectacles, namely the animal fights were held in the theater, as evidenced by its specific design characteristics. Inscriptions and finely detailed sculptures have been discovered during archaeological excavations and today they are included in the building’s architecture. The skillful conservation and restoration work on the Roman Theater in Plovdiv has been recognized as one of the best examples of conservation of archaeological sites in Bulgaria.


The antique theater is among the symbols of the city and is adapted to Plovdiv’s present-day cultural life. Due to the excellent acoustics and exquisite beauty of the place numerous events and performances are held annually here, drawing thousands of visitors to the jewel in the crown of Plovdiv.


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