On a platform approximately 550-650 meters above sea level, nestled among the verdant slopes, lies the capital the Kassopaeans founded in the 4th century BC. The location offered cool temperatures and uninterrupted vistas to the sea, but most importantly, a naturally fortified location, providing safety and control of the land route stretching north-south and the route joining the mainland to the coast.
The Kassopaeans desired an advanced capital in every sense of the word, one that would not only provide a living but eu zen, a good life. The city blocks on which their homes stood were characterized by geometrical order and precision. The agora and all public buildings occupied a prominent position. In the early 3rd century BC, they constructed a grand theater, a space to watch theatrical performances and gather to discuss political matters.
The Theater of Kassope was constructed on the foothills of the city’s highest hill, beneath the NW acropolis. The theater’s orientation was not a random choice. Spectators could not only enjoy the poets’ creations but also panoramic views over the Ambracian Gulf, the Ionian Sea and the island of Lefkada.
Swept by the currents of history, the theater and the city were abandoned at end of the 1st century BC, when the city’s inhabitants were forced to move to the newly founded city of Nikopolis. In the centuries that followed, only inquisitive travelers entered the deserted city. Increasingly damaged, its theater could no longer be distinguished from the surrounding ground. The beginning of the 21st century ushered in a new era for the monument. Enhancement works in progress will restore its former shape and enrich our knowledge of its history and architecture. For the ancient Theater of Kassope, the future looks bright.
“In antiquity, theatre was not just a spectacle. It was an uplifting experience, cathartic, healing, both physical and spiritual.
Ancient Greek theatres were often built where nature offers its best, as if to embrace and enhance the purpose of the art.
With its sprawling horizons over the life-giving sea, the Theatre of Kassope might be the perfect example.”