The Ancient Theater of Orange Town, Provence

Posted in Europe | September 14, 2010 | 0 Comments


With villages like the Chateauneuf-du-Pape and the Gigondas on either side to keep it cozy in between, the town of Orange is said to be nestled in the heart of the wine country. This region was formerly known as Arausio and was founded in 40 BC and was said to develop extremely rapidly when the Roman Emperor Augustus reigned over the region. The theater that stands here till date are said to have been created during the 1st century AD and it still stands at what can be dubbed as the center of the town. This doubled up as a post of defense during the Middle Ages, and the high walls were known to provide people with refuge during the times of the religious wars that gripped the region during the 16th century.

Restoration:

Restoration works on the theater began in the year 1825, and archaeologists were said to have found a lot of constructions and foundations from the original structure. In today’s date, the theater is said to have been restored to almost all of its former glory. So much has been restored that this site has now gotten the status of being a World Heritage Site (UNESCO rating) and has been given the pedestal for being the best preserved of all the ancient theaters that remain in Europe today.

The Statistics and the Designing of the Ancient Roman Theater, Orange:

When in Provence, this theater is a must see for anyone and everyone who would want to imagine what it was like during the reign of the Romans. The theater, till date, stands as an awesome and breathtaking symbol that instantly gets linked to the glory and pride that the Roman Empire once carried with it. The notable stage wall is said to be about 103 meters long and has a height of about 37 meters, which is nothing less of impressive.  There is a 3.5 meter high statue of the Roman Emperor Augustus, which is built into the wall at a height of about 20 meters. Below it is one of the three gates that permit entry into the theater.  The gate under Augustus’ statue is called the Royal Door.

This monument sticks to the historical formation of theaters and has a system of tiered seats which have been built in a semi-circular fashion, and there is an orchestra pit, or a stage which is about 13 meters deep and you’ll have one more structure, which was called the stage wall.

The tiered seats were said to be restored at the turn of the 19th century and today the visitors are free to sit there and wonder what it must have felt like to have been sitting there during the reign of the Romans. At that point in time, the audience would have had to sit according to the classes they fell into. The highest classes in the Roman life would be allowed to sit at the lowest tier so that they could be closest to the stage and the lower classes would occupy the higher tiers and would be at the top of the rather steep theater.

For a number of years, the stage wall and the stage had remained unshielded to environmental elements like rain and sun. This caused for some considerable deterioration when it came to the stage.  A complex and lengthy process has enabled for the structuring of the new glass roof that now covers the stage area.  This was created in the year 2006 (month of June). The roof covers an area of about 1000 square meters.

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