Monday, 30 October 2023, 21:33
For years it was partially hidden by the old Casa de la Cultura. Today it is one of the most important monuments of Malaga, where it shares the limelight with other historic buildings such as the Cathedral and the Alcazaba. Precisely, this vestige of the Roman period is located at the foot of what was a citadel and fortress in the Moorish period. The theatre was built in the early years of the 1st century, taking advantage of the hillside for its spectator stands.
However the Roman theatre was not discovered until 1951, when landscaping was taking place for the garden next to the aforementioned Casa de la Cultura (a culture centre that no longer exists). According to the studies carried out, the theatre was built in the time of Augustus and was used at least until the 3rd century.
In addition to this monument, there are other Roman remains in the surrounding area, such as the basins preserved in Calle Alcazabilla, in the Rectorado building or in the basement of the Buenavista Palace (Malaga Picasso Museum), among others.
The year 1992 marked a milestone in the history of this Roman building, as the decision was made to demolish the Casa de la Cultura, work that was eventually carried out in 1994. From then on, excavations took place which brought to light the stage (proescenium), as well as the remains of the 'orchestra', decorated with large marble slabs, which was the place reserved at that time for the senators.
Also left visible were the cavea, a large part of the stands (with a radius of 31 metres by 16 metres high and a total of thirteen different tiers, which are still scattered today along the slope of the western side of the Alcazaba. Also visible today is the vomitorium, the entrance to this important cultural space of the time.
Thanks to the archaeological work carried out over many years in the Roman theatre, we now know a lot of interesting facts about this construction. For example, it was a work of mixed engineering, since it made use of part of the slope of the Alcazaba hill to build a large section of the stands. In this sense, it resembles the Greek style for these architectural constructions. The rest, as can be seen with the naked eye, was built on artificial foundations.
As a cultural building, it was gradually abandoned between the 2nd and 3rd centuries. From then on, this space was occupied by the structure of the salted fish industry, which can still be seen just a few metres away, in Calle Alcazabilla. This is where the famous 'garum' fish paste, so deeply rooted in the Mediterranean Roman culture of the time, was made.
From the 5th century onwards, this Roman theatre also served as a cemetery, as has been verified in some excavations, in which a series of burial sites have been discovered. It is also known that part of its structure was used as a foundation for the Alcazaba itself.
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