The Ancient Theatre of Thassos is of seductive beauty. It is built on a hillside, at the feet of the Acropolis, and has a panoramic view of the port and the city of Thassos.
The father of medicine, Hippocrates, who lived in Thassos studying its therapeutic herbs, mentioned the existence of the theatre as early as the 5th century BC. The theatre was renovated in the 4th century BC, and once again during the Roman times, when it acquired its present form.
It was made entirely of white Thassos marble, both the koilon (audience) and the skene (scene). Today efforts are still being made to restore the marble seats and the theatre orchestra, and recent excavations revealed a second stage, behind the level of the first, unique in terms of archaeological data.
The proscenium was dedicated by the Thassian Lysistratos, to the protector god of theatre, Dionysus. The length of the proscenium is 8 meters and the diameter of the orchestra is 23 meters.
In Archaic and Classical periods it was used for theatrical performances. In Roman times it was used as an arena for gladiator fights and fights with wild beasts. In the 2nd century BC railings were built, in order to isolate the audience so that they would not be in danger during the beast fights. Their traces are still visible today. In several seats the engraved names of some rulers, holy and prominent people are saved, showing that they were intended for private use.
It is remarkable that the father of parody and comedy, the teacher of the great comic playwright Aristophanes, was Hegemon of Thassos. This fact, coupled with the prominent position of the theatre, proves that the cult of Dionysus was widespread in Thassos. It is perhaps not a coincidence that even today the island preserves the worship of Bacchus (Dionysus) in the celebration of the traditional carnival.
Each summer, ancient tragedy and comedy performances are staged by the National Theatre of Northern Greece and other troupes, as part of the Ancient Theatre of Philippi and Thassos Festival (moreover, the ancient theatre of Philippi was built by Thassians, who had founded the colony Krinides in the area called Thassian Perea, between Nestos and Struma River).
The contemporary operation of the Thassos ancient theatre is a major tourist attraction, for those interested in ancient drama.