Malaga City - Teatro Romano

© Michelle Chaplow Teatro Romano from Calle Alcazabilla.
Teatro Romano from Calle Alcazabilla.

El Teatro Romano is the oldest monument in Málaga City; it is situated in the cultural heart of Málaga city, at the foot of the famous Alcazaba fortress. It is one of the only Ancient ruins left in Málaga after the outwardly Republican city was bombed by Nationalist sympathizers - the Italian army during the Civil war, and one of the only remaining Roman ruins in Andalucía after centuries of warfare, and construction. The site is accompanied by the Centro de Interpretación (visitors centre) which teaches visitors about the history of the ruins and its subsequent excavation.

History of the theatre

The theatre was built in the first century BC, under Emperor Augustus, and was used until the third century AD. Subsequently it was left to ruin for centuries, until the Moors settled in Andalucía. In 756-780AD the amphitheatre was used as a quarry by the Moorish settlers , to excavate the stone used to build the Alcazaba fortress - you can see some Roman columns and capitals in the fortress. Over time it became buried under dirt and rubble, and remained hidden there for almost five centuries.

 

The theatre was rediscovered in 1951, when the construction of Casa de Cultura uncovered the first archaeological clues. The construction of the gardens was abandoned, and instead excavations began. In 1995 a polemic decision was made to demolish the Casa de la Cultura, which stood over a third of the site. Once the site had been fully excavated, a large scale restoration project began, which proved more difficult than anticipated, as many of the missing pieces are now part of the foundations of the neighbouring Alcazaba.

On 15 September 2011, 27 years after reconstruction began, El Teatro Romano reopened to the public, and held its first stage performances for millenia, with performances from Andrés Mérida, Daniel Casares, and Carlos Álvarez, reading from Juvenal Soto and the poetry of Pablo Picasso and Manuel Alcántara. The amphitheatre is now open throughout the year for visitors, and in summer, it will be used for open-air performances. It seats 220 spectators.

Layout of the theatre

The theatre is separated into three parts: the Cavea (general seats), the Orchestra (VIP seats) , and the Proscaenium (stage). The Cavea is the spectators' circle: 31m in radius and 16m high, it is a semi-circular shape divided by aisles into three parts - Inma Cávea, Media Cávea, and Sunma Cávea - which can all be accessed by separate Vomitoria (exit passageways, literally "spew forth").

The Orchestra is situated between the Cávea and the Proscaenium. This is the area where the more important citizens sat. The Proscaenium is the stage area. It is raised slightly above the Orchestra area, to give the best view, and would ordinarily have a wooden floor.

Visitor Centre

A new Centro de Interpretación (visitor centre) adjacent to the amphitheatre, opened in October 2010 is the free entrance to the site. A long rectangular building made of steel, serigraphic glass and wood, the centre itself is visually stunning, as its design in simple but striking, and the glass is engraved with Latin text, the Lex Flavia Malacitana (the legal declarations of Málaga under the Roman Empire). The building was designed by Antonio Tejedor with a dual purpose: to provide a base for archaeologists, and to provide information for visitors to the site. The centre contains little historical information about the site, and a few archaeological discoveries, uncovered from the site, such as tools and pottery, and audiovisual exhibitions of the site's excavation and restoration.

Location

Address: Calle Alcazabilla, 8. Málaga 29012.
Tel: 951 041 400

Admission: Free (but not advertised on outside as free)
No disabled acces to the site.

 

opening Hours

Tuesday to Saturday 10.00 to 18.00
Sunday and holidays 10.00 to 16.00
Mondays closed
Public holidays closed: 1st January, 1st May, 24th December, 25th December and 31st December.