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View from the southern upper tier of the theater looking north, down into the semi-circular orchestra area. Beyond the orchestra area, and to the right, the tiered seating (cavea) is visible. The cavea is divided into an upper and lower part by a walkway (diazoma) and these two sections are in turn divided into wedges (cunei) by rising staircases. The theater probably held 4,000 people.
To the left (west) of the orchestra area is where the stage was situated. On the day that this picture was taken, technicians were setting up modern scaffolding in preparation for (I think) a skate boarding event! In ancient times, the stage would have been backed by the skene - a wall rising up some two or three stories and through which the actors would have made their entrances and exits.
The theater was evidently first constructed by Herod the Great (37 to 4 B.C.) and went through many modifications until it went out of use in the sixth century A.D. This theater (or possibly in the amphitheater may have been the spot where Herod Agrippa I was stuck with an illness that led to his death (Acts 12:19-23; Josephus Ant. 19.343-52 [8.2]). For another view of the orchestra and the stage area, click here.