The Stadium

This structure lies at the entrance of the city in the Ku?adas? direction. A good example of the stadiums of the period, it is 230 metres long and 30 metres wide. Its entrance is on the west.

The entrance with two rows of columns is in the form of an arch of triumph. The stone blocks standing there, decorated with reliefs of figures such as rabbits and vases, were brought from some other place at a later period and were used here for a second time. The rows of seats on the right were made by cutting into the mountain and the ones of the left were set on long vaulted spaces.

The Stadium was first built in the Hellenistic period, then was altered in Nero's reign (54-68 AD) for its present shape. In the 3rd and 4th centuries a wall was put up at the east end and an arena was formed where gladiator games, wild animal fights and acrobatic shows took place.

With the acceptance of Christianity as the official religion the Stadium was razed to the ground to avenge the cruelty inflicted upon the early Christians and an important part of the material was used in the construction of the Church of St. John and the surrounding walls.

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