Didem Doğan

Siracusa and the archeological site of Neapolis

An open air museum in Siracusa, the archeological site of Neapolis is a fifteen minute walk from the train station of Siracusa. Meaning the new city it was built during the reign of Hieron the 2nd, the last tyron of Siracusa in Greek period, 3rd century B.C. The roman historian Cicero defined it ‘imposing and very beautiful’ during his visit to one of the most important city of the antiquity. 

Built as the urban and architectural project of Iron the 2nd the archeological site today consists of four main areas, the Greek Altar, The Greek theatre, the ear of Dionysius and the Roman theatre. As you enter the site you see on your left the Altar, which few is left from the Greek area, it was mostly demolished by the Spanish during 16th century. This Altar was dedicated to the Greek gods, the Greek God Olympian Zeus which was the guarantee of cosmos and earthly order. You then continue to the Greek theatre which is known as one of the biggest examples of its kind. Two large porticos where spectators entered the theatre, the caviar where stage entertainment were placed in semi-circular shape with its orchestra and chorus, the altar of Dionysus at the center, you can all imagine how it was some 2300 years ago- it really is impressive.

You then continue to the ear of Dionysus, a cave of 23 meters and called as ear due to its peculiar sinius shape. It was Caravaggio who visited the place in 1608 that named the place because the tyrant of Siracusa, Dionysus, was a reign who trusted no one and listened to the conversations of prisoners. It is also called ‘the grotto that speaks’ due to its acoustic quality.

And the last visit is to the Roman theatre, in elliptical shape and almost carved in rock. Different form the Greek one it has a rectangular room at the center, subterranean passages where wild animals and gladiators passed.

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