Odeon of Ephesus (Small Theatre)

Location and Purpose of the Odeon of Ephesus

The Odeon of Ephesus Ancient City is situated at the entrance of the upper gate, next to Prytanaeum and opposite the Agora. Its back side leans against the slopes of Mount Pion. That this monument having the outlook of a small theater was built in a place so close to the city palace and agora brings to one’s mind that it served as the city’s place of assembly, rather than a theatre.

Odeon of Ephesus
Odeon of Ephesus

Construction and Function of the Odeon of Ephesus

The Odeion resembles a small theatre. So, it is also known as the Small Theatre of Ephesus. According to an inscription unearthed by Ephesus archaeologists, It was initially built as a bouleuterion which means council chamber, around the middle of the 2nd century A.D. by Publius Vedius Antonius and his wife Flavia Papiana. They were members of the noble family of Ephesus.

Plan of Ephesus Odeon
Plan of an Odeon

Main Sections of Ephesus Odeon

Built on the slopes of Panayir Dagi, the Odeon consists of three main sections just like other theatres: the cavea (auditorium). the orchestra (semi-circular action place for actors) and the skene (the stage building). The orchestra is semicircular. The fact that there are no gutters for rainwater in the center of the orchestra indicates that the Odeion was roofed. The marble seats exhibit quality craftsmanship.

Ephesus Odeon
Ephesus Odeon

Seating and Access

The Odeion seated approximately 1,400 and had 22 stairs conforming to the shape of the theatre as seen in the picture. Spectators entered either through the paradoses (side entrances between the stage and auditorium) or through the galleries which were reached by the vaulted roofed staircases at the entrance of the paradoses.

Dual Use of the Odeion

The building served dual purposes: as an odeon during concerts and performances, and as a bouleuterion for council meetings. This multifunctional use highlights its significance in the civic and cultural life of ancient Ephesus.

Cocktails in Odeon of Ephesus

Evening cocktails at the Ephesus Celsus Library, especially for cruise passengers, are now held in the Ephesus Odeion. This change was made because Ephesus is now open for evening visits until midnight, and the Celsus Library is the most visited landmark. To avoid overcrowding, the Odeion, which is closed to evening visitors, now hosts these cocktail events.

You May Also Like

If you would like to explore Ephesus Ancient City on-site with us, you can reach us at the links below. Best Price, %100 Satisfaction Guaranteed!

Ephesus Shore Excursions

Private Ephesus Tours from Izmir Airport

Ephesus Day Trip From Istanbul

Add Comment