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Ancient theatre of Lefki

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The theatre of Lefki is located on an islet by the same name, 3.6 nautical miles southeast of Crete in the Libyan Sea. It was built on the northwest coast of the island, 90 meters approximately from the present coastline and is oriented towards the north.

The theatre, with a capacity of 1000 spectators, was built in the 2nd century AD. The hollow has twelve rows of seats and is almost semi-circular in shape. The orchestra is a little larger than a semicircle. The stage building includes the proscenium (logeion), substage, and the side wings of the stage. Entrance to the theatre was from the two sides through  vaulted passages.

The theatre today is still  buried beneath the sand.

Name of Monument

Roman Theatre of Lefki



Short description

The theatre has a tripartite structure: hollow, orchestra and stage building.

Pictures – Plans

Photographic documentation is kept in the archive of the Ephorate of Antiquities.

Documentation – Bibliography

1.T.B.Spratt, Travels and researches in Crete, London 1865.


  1. R. Bosanquet – T. Currely, Dicte and the Temples of Dictean Zeus, BSA 40, σ.70.


  1. A. Leonard Jr, Kouphonisi revisited, Archeologia Classica 24, Roma 1972, σ. 353-363.


  1. Ν. Π. Παπαδάκης, ΑΔ 1976, Χρονικά Β΄2, σ. 382-383.


  1. Ν. Π. Παπαδάκης, Αρχαιολογικά ευρήματα στο Κουφονήσι Σητείας, Αμάλθεια 1976, σ. 186-206.


  1. Ν. Π. Παπαδάκης, Αρχαίο θέατρο στο Κουφονήσι Σητείας, ΑΑΑ 1977, σ. 77-83.


  1. Ν. Π. Παπαδάκης, Κουφονήσι Σητείας. Χρονικό των ανασκαφών, Αμάλθεια 1978, σ. 260-262.


  1. Ν. Π. Παπαδάκης, Σητεία. Η πατρίδα του Μύσωνα και του Κορνάρου, Σητεία 1989.


  1. Ν. Π. Παπαδάκης, Κουφονήσι : Η «Δήλος» του Λιβυκού, Αρχαιολογία 6 (1983).

The theatre is located on the north-western coast of the islet of Lefki, approximately 90 meters from the current coastline.


It was built in the 2nd century AD.

General description of the monument

The koilon, having a capacity of 1000 spectators, was constructed on a natural slope of white marble limestone. It has twelve rows of seats and is almost semi-circular. The orchestra is a little larger than a semicircle and it is paved with white soil. Entrance to the theatre was from the two sides through vaulted passages. The stage building includes proscenium (logeion), substage, and the side wings.

Current situation

Due to the weather conditions prevailing in the area, and the material from which it is constructed, the monument is partially preserved. Today, it is buried under sand deposits.

Surveys – Interventions

It was excavated in 1976 by archaeologist N. P. Papadakis.

In March and April 2010, the Institute of Technology and Research carried out geophysical mapping using the method of the ground penetration radar system (GPR),and magnetic mapping for the exploration of the subsoil of the theatre.

Permitted uses

Simple visit.

History of modern uses

Its use is not allowed

Additional information

The preparation of an architectural study for the documentation and restoration of the theatre is required.


Ministry of Culture and Tourism/ Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities.


The monument is located within the precinct archaeological site of the islet of Lefkis and falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities.





  • On Saturday 15 November 2008 the first visit of the president of the ‘DIAZOMA’ Association, Mr. Stavros Benos, to the ancient theatre of Koufonisi in Lefki took place, in the framework of his tour of the ancient theatres of Crete, where he met with all local agencies regarding the promotion of the theatre of Koufonisi. (link)
  • Subsequently, ‘DIAZOMA’ opened a “piggy bank” (a bank account) for the ancient theatre of Koufonisi in Lefki. (link)
  • In 2009 the former Prefecture Local Government of Lasithi funded a geophysical study of the ancient theatre of Koufoniki in Lefki with a planning Contract.
  • The geophysical survey, which has been completed, was implemented jointly with the theatre of Ierapetra.
  • Architects Yiorgos Kannavakis and Liana Efthymiadou voluntarily drafted the plan for the protection of the monument from the weather conditions and the natural sandblasting from the fierce wind storms. The above plan was approved by the Local Archaeological Council.(ΣΤΙΓΜΑ)
  • We must move forward with implementation of the above plan in combination with the drafting and funding of the overall programme for the promotion and protection of this unique and symbolic theatre. (MOVING FORWARD)