The Theatre of Dionysos in AthensThe retaining wall of the eastern parodos-the eastern retaining wall of the auditorium
The retaining walls of the parodoi (passages) of the Theatre of Dionysos are one of the characteristic elements of the stone construction of the theatre, which was built fully in stone, during the archonship of Lycurgos (338-324 B.C). The retaining wall of the eastern parodos marks the area of the main eastern entrance to the Dionysos theatre and at the same time supports the made-up mass of earth on which the rows of the stone seats of the auditorium were bedded. This entrance connects the theatre with one of the main roads of the city, the famous Street of the Tripods, and was monumentalized with a marble propylon, which had the form of a roofed gate. Bases with statues which honoured famous poets of the Greek Drama were erected next to the retaining wall.
In Late Antiquity, the stones of the retaining wall were removed. This was the main reason for the destruction of this section of the theatre. After the excavations in the Dionysos Theatre at the middle of the 19th century and the progressive damage to the remains of the wall, many static problems have arisen during the last decades. It became necessary to support and partially reconstruct this wall.
The restoration project was a priority of the programmes of the Monuments Committee. Work began in 1995 and was completed at the end of 2003.The limestone was quarried from the area which belongs to the Chatzikyriakos-Foundation in Piraeus, as in ancient times. This material was used for the partial reconstruction of the retaining wall. The inner supporting walls which had been built of conglomerate stones were replaced with artificial stones. These conglomerate constructions were revealed as a result of this research project. For the partial construction of the retaining wall 174 new limestone blocks from Piraeus were put in place and 11 repairs were made for missing parts of the ancient stones. 103 artificial conglomerate stones were also moulded.