Drama of the Roman Empire: The Theaters at Aspendos and Perge
Tour Participation Requirements
Special Medical Restriction
The Aspendos theater's acoustics are so remarkable that one story has echoed for nearly two millennia.
Back in the year 155, the local king decided to hold a contest to see who could create the most beneficial new public works project. The prize would be his daughter's hand in marriage.
When the projects were complete, the king carefully examined all and narrowed the field to two candidates: The first had built a system of aqueducts to deliver water to the city from far away. The second, an architect and native son, constructed a 15,000-seat theater faithful to the Greek tradition. The king, likely a practical sort, was leaning toward the aqueduct as winner. But then someone asked him to take just one more look at the theater.
While checking out the upper galleries, the king heard a deep voice repeating, "The king's daughter must be given to me." Puzzled, the king could find no source for this voice anywhere. It was the architect himself, speaking in a low voice from the stage to show off the superb sound projection he had designed into his theater. The architect won the hand of the princess and married her in the theater, where every word of the ceremony was, no doubt, heard by all in attendance.
The transvestite saint of Perge
Perge was an important Christian center from the time that the Apostle Paul preached here in the 1st century; it is also the birthplace of St. Matrona, a 6th-century saint who dressed like a man to avoid her abusive husband while serving in a monastery. Eventually discovered, she established a convent where the nuns all dressed as monks – possibly the only community of its kind in the Christian world.
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