Quick Navigation

Our Journey: The Ancient Theatre of Amphipolis

Amphipolis was established in 437 BC by Athenian colonists and its exceptional strategic and economic significance defined and shaped its history from its foundation to the final years of the Byzantine state. The ancient theatre of Amphipolis lies to the north-east of the Gymnasium and within the long walls of ancient Amphipolis. Even though the theatre has not been excavated, the layout of the seating area, the koilon, is distinguishable. It is estimated that the orchestra and some of the front rows of the koilon survive.

In December 2008, as part of a tour of the ancient theatres of Northern Greece, DIAZOMA President Mr Stavros Benos, Vice-President Mr P. Themelis and founding members of the association, visited the Ancient Theatre of Amphipolis. They were welcomed by Ms Katerina Peristeri, head of the 28th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, the then competent authority, and archaeologist Ms Electra Zografou. The working visit was also attended by the Prefect of Serres Mr Stefanos Fotiadis, the Mayor of Serres Mr Giannis Vlachos, the host, Mayor of Amphipolis Mr Petros Petridis, the director of the Regional Theatre Mr Thodoris Gonis, journalists Ms Thalia Kampouridou and Ms Zoe Cheimonidou, Prefecture cultural affairs director Mr Vasilisi Vafeiadis, and secretary of the Regional Theatre of Serres Ms Natassa Makri.

The participants were updated on the course of the works underway by Ms Peristeri, an associate of the late Dimitris Lazaridis, the renowned archaeologist who left his mark on the excavation of Ancient Amphipolis. More specifically, test trenches at the archaeological site enabled the precise identification of the location of the orchestra. However, a privately-owned olive grove prevented the commencement of excavations. As a result, Ms Peristeri stressed the need to expropriate the land and then carry out a telescopic survey to facilitate excavation planning.

Indeed, with the synergies of all participants at the meeting above, the expropriation of the land was completed in March 2013. The expenses were covered by the theatre’s “piggy-bank” set up by DIAZOMA.

However, the ancient theatre has not been surveyed yet. The only thing keeping it “hidden” underground is the need for a new Cultural Development Programme Agreement between the Region of Central Macedonia – Regional Unit of Serres and the Municipality of Amphipolis. It is an initiative we hope will be taken soon to allow the theatre of Amphipolis to take its place at the centre of everyday life and sustainable development of the wider region.

Detailed information on the progress of works at the Ancient theatre of Amphipolis from the establishment of DIAZOMA to the present day is provided below:

  • In December 2008, touring the ancient theatres of Northern Greece, the President of DIAZOMA carried out a working visit at the Ancient Theatre of Amphipolis, where he met local bodies and institutions.
  • DIAZOMA has set up a fundraising “piggy-bank” (online bank account) for the ancient theatre of Amphipolis (see here).
  • On 28 March 2013, the Government Gazette (FEK 100/ 28-03-2013) published the Joint Ministerial Decision decreeing the compulsory expropriation of a plot of land in Amphipolis, Serres, for archaeological purposes, specifically to allow the future excavation and unearthing of the ancient theatre of Amphipolis. The state was appointed the expropriation’s beneficiary, and the DIAZOMA non-profit Association covered the cost of 5,685.18 euro.
  • On Monday, 24 November 2014, the Government Gazette (FEK 362 / 24-11-14- Compulsory Expropriations and Urban Planning Matters) published the notification for the deposit of the compensation arising from the compulsory expropriation of land at the archaeological site of Amphipolis, Serres, for archaeological purposes.
  • This publication followed the deposit of 5,685.18 euro (the amount determined by law as compensation for the expropriation) made by the DIAZOMA Association at the Consignment Deposits and Loans Fund (Central Service).
  • On Thursday, 28 December 2017, the Cultural Development Programme Agreement for the “Excavational research at the ancient theatre of Amphipolis” amounting to 30,000 euro was signed, to be financed by the Region of Central Macedonia – Regional Unit of Serres and the Municipality of Amphipolis. The Agreement provided for a geophysical survey and test trenches to investigate the ancient theatre of Amphipolis. The Programme Agreement expired without the works having taken place (CURRENT STATE).
  • A new Cultural Development Programme Agreement for the “Excavational research at the ancient theatre of Amphipolis” needs to be signed between the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Region of Central Macedonia and the Municipality of Amphipolis (NEXT STEP).

To visit the theatre’s page, click here

Photo Album: Ancient Theatre of Amphipolis

  • The Archaeological Site. The ancient Gymnasium can be seen at the forefront. The shape of the theatre’s purported koilon can be distinguished on the hill (2013).
  • Mr Stavros Benos and Prof. Petros Themelis visits the ancient theatre (2013)
  • Ms Peristeri shows Mayor Mr Vlachos and the other participants the olive grove and the possible location of the theatre’s orchestra during the on-site inspection.