Europe / France / Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes / Rhône Department / Lyon / Lyon 5th arrondissement / Antique theaters
History of the constructions
This theater was one of the oldest in Gaul. It was built late in the first century B.C. and enlarged later so that it could hold up to 10,000 spectators. With a diameter of 108 meters, it was one of the largest in Gaul, along with the theaters of Vienne and Autun.
The odeon is newer. Built late in the first century, this little theater measured 83 meters in diameter and was used for music. It could hold up to 3,000 spectators.
Both of the structures were unearthed and partially restored from 1933 to 1970.
The apogee of the large theater
Imagine what the theater must have looked like in Antiquity.
First of all, it was a lot bigger. The rows of seats were much higher and could hold up to 10,000 spectators, as compared to 4,000 today.
In the beginning, the theater was closed on all sides. Picture a wall that existed behind the stage and rose to over twenty meters in height! Since there was no roof, a canvas awning was rolled out over the seats to protect spectators from the sun. The orchestra, which is the semicircular area in front of the stage, was reserved for the city's most important figures.