The Ancient Theater in Ohrid

There is something fascinating in all those remains of buildings from the ancient period. Every little stone found in this places is a witness to so many events, part of the history.

Most of the ancient cities had their own theaters. When tourists are visiting Ohrid and they see the theater a common question is: “Is this a Roman theater?” That made me write this post dedicated to the ancient theater in Ohrid.

When I’m explaining inside the ancient theater I always have a feeling like I’m on some lecture and educating the tourists. So, welcome to one of those classes.

There is a difference between the ancient theaters and the amphitheaters. The amphitheaters are the Roman theaters usually build between I and II century AD, and the ancient theaters were built mainly between IV and II century BC. Another difference is the form of the theaters, amphitheaters built like a circle and on the other side the ancient theaters only a half of the circle.


According to the archeologists, the Ancient theater in Ohrid was built at the end of III and beginning of II century BC. Some archeologists even say that it was built in the IV century BC in the time of Philip the Second, father of Alexander the Great. It was the late Hellenistic period and the theater was build according to the other Hellenistic buildings with rich architectonic decorations. Some of the stones decorated with scenes of gods, like Dionis and the Muzes, are in the museum in Ohrid.


At the beginning, the theater was used for plays, and later in the Roman period, it was adjusted to be used for gladiator fights and fights with wild animals.

When the Christianity was recognized as the official religion in IV century all the pagan objects were destroyed, while the theater was abandoned. It was easier for the locals to use the stones from the theater as a building material for the other buildings in the city. Thanks to those stones with decorations, motives from the theater, archeologist were searching for it. For our enjoyment of this beautiful construction 14 houses that were built over its remains were removed.  So today Ohrid once again has a theater.


Located between the two hills of the old city under the fortress, the theater is the best acoustic object on open air in the city. After the restoration which was finished in 2001 it is being used again.



Nowadays the theater is used for different events, especially for Ohrid Summer Festival. It’s spectacular to be there for the opening of the festival, which starting from 2005 is in the Ancient theater. Every year on 12 of July some internationally known musician has a performance. I will always remember 2005 when the opening was done by the Spanish opera tenor Jose Carreras. Beside him, on other occasions, there were the primadonna Tina Gorina, the Spanish dirigent David Himenez together with the Macedonian Philharmonia, and many others.   anticki5

I don’t want to tell you everything in this post. Let’s leave something for your visit in Ohrid when I will take on a tour and uncover the rest of the secrets of this remarkable sight.

I know there are so many ancient theaters and amphitheaters all over the world, but not many of them are still in use like the one that we have in Ohrid. It is a special feeling when you can walk or sit on the stones put in their place for so many centuries. It’s like the stone has a soul.

You are welcomed to visit this place anytime, it’s open 24/7, the entrance is free for everyone, except if there is some concert at the moment.

If you want to learn more about Ohrid or enjoy in photography, you can visit the next posts:

Haunted houses in Ohrid
Timeless place
Balkan’s Jerusalem
15 minutes from the center

Thank you for reading.

8 thoughts on “The Ancient Theater in Ohrid

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