Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Greece

 

This Greek open-air theatre, known as “The Herodeon”, is located in the southern part of the Acropolis, Athens, and is one of the oldest entertainment venues in the world. Dating back to 161 AD, it was commissioned by Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife. It is nestled between two hills and is quite typical of Roman-style construction, especially because of its columns. It was the third Odeon to be built in Athens and had a three-story stage building. Originally it was partly covered with a wood and tile roof. Nowadays the circular orchestra has become a semi-circle, paved with marble. The Herodeon could originally hold up to 5,000 people and had 35 rows; it now holds 4,680 people.

Th original Herodeon structure was destroyed during the invasion of the Erouloi in 268 AD and was a ruin for a long time. Some restoration took place in the years 1898, 1900 and 1922, but in the meantime this historic site was used for events and performances. During German Occupation (1941-1944) The Herodeon hosted performances by The Athens State Orchestra and The Greek National Opera. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that the city started to fully restore the venue for its grand opening in 1955, when it hosted the Athens and Epidaurus Festival (this event included music, dance and theatre acts). This festival still runs today.

The Herodeon has hosted some of the world’s best musical performances over the last 60 years, including Nana Mouskouri, Luciano Pavarotti and Frank Sinatra to name a few. You can also now watch majestic ballets and arias and ancient Greek tragedies there, but the only way you can get into the venue is with a ticket.