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17/50.- Aphrodisias, stadium

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The Aphrodisias stadium is the best preserved of all the ancient stadiums in the Mediterranean region. Located in the northern section of the city it is 262 m in length and 59 m wide with a seating capacity of 30,000. The ends of the stadium are slightly convex, giving the whole a form rather suggesting an ellipse. In this way, the spectators seated in this part of the stadium would not block each other's view and would be able to see the whole of the arena. The stadium was specially designed for athletic contests, but after the theatre was damaged in the 7th century earthquake the eastern end of the arena began to be used for games, circuses and wild beast shows. During the Roman period the stadium was the scene of a large number of athletic competitions and festivals. These shows were held with the permission of Rome and the granting of such permission was regarded as a signal honour. The games held in Aphrodisias were Pythian. These were complemented by the Gordineia festivals held in honour of the Emperor and with his special permission.After visiting the site we drive to a nearby restaurant for lunch. After lunch we visit the Museum which contains beautiful statues and portrait sculpture.

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