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  • Writer's picture Kester Eddy

A Theatre Magnificent - even if the seating is a bit hard by Broadway/West End standards - UPDATED

Updated: Aug 11, 2022

KesterTester82 - All testers thus far have been in (or to do with) the former Warsaw Pact countries, or Yugoslav Republics. This one is a little bit more remote, though there are still links - if you wanted an SLR camera, for example, unless you were extremely well connected, you had to make do with a Soviet made Zenit or Praktika from the DDR at the time I was there.

Photo: I am no architectural historian, but this ancient theatre seemed to be in rather superb condition when I visited. Not sure if that is still the state of things today.

To most non-natives, this location was famous for the site pictured above. But to many natives, the mere mention of the local name was met with dread and trepidation. And, I'd guess, probably still is. So where is it?

Answers via the site messaging system or an email, please. KesterTesters 80 and 81 are still open for sleuthing, I should have posted KT80 result by now, but .... put it down to the heat.

Have a good weekend!

UPDATE: New clues. The theatre pictured is just one of a massive set of ruins around this site, although what I didn't know at the time is that some of these 'ruins' are actually modern copies of the originals. The site is the location of a number of civilisations going back several centuries earlier than the Roman-era remains that stand around.

And we have the one-time French govenor to thank for at least some of what we can see today - apparently he rehoused the local population a few hundred metres away from the ancient city in order to undertake archeological digs into the site.


It would seem a good few readers are avid fans of the Roman theatre world, as this Tester garnered a good few entries, covering a variety of geographical locations. Marilyn Ball-Brown asked if it was Ephesus, as did Steve Anthony. Barbara Carlson was having none of that, determinedly stating: “The Theatre Magnificent is in Amman, Jordan.” Hmmm. I'm not so sure, Barbara – and neither is Sharon Lee Cowan. She thinks it might be Leptis Magna (on the Libyan Mediterranean coast). Erik Werkman (hello Erik, good to hear from you) emailed in from Prague, tentatively suggesting it might be Kostolac. I had to look that one up, Erik – I didn't know there were Roman ruins in that part of the world. (Kostolac is Serbia between Belgrade and the Romanian border.) Ian Wraight was also tentative – “Is that Palmyra?” he asked. Alan Sutton was more adamant: “The Roman theatre in Palmyra, Syria,” he plonked down in an email, “I went there in January 1984, just after New Year.” Frank Hegedus followed quickly in agreement – minus the visit bit. Hubert “Poirot” Warsmann was initially somewhat circumspect: “KT 82, this looks like the Roman theater in Palmyra prior to the reconstruction of the back wall and definitely before the Isis atrocities and the war,” he reasoned. Greg Dorey also plumped for Palmyra “as any fule kno” (not sure if that was a joke or an issue with the mobile phone). Albyn Austin was another one for Palmyra, sheepishly admitting he used google to locate it, while John Cantwell came in with a late entry devoid of sheepishness: “KT 82 is the Roman Theatre at Palmyra,” he wrote. “The French clue made me think of Syria and a google search for 'Syria Roman theatre' led directly to the Roman Theatre at Palmyra. I have an idea Hubert “Poirot” Warsmann came back with a final plump and explanation for Palmyra – but I've lost his message. So there we are, the majority opting for Palmyra – but are they right? Well, yes. I went there for a day in November 1984 – and stupidly ate some salad in a local restaurant, for which I paid a heavy price later. (Put it this way, I got no nourishment from that meal! And it cost me a visit to a doctor.) And so, the draw with seven slips in the EU-approved Black Woolly hat and … Frank Hegedus, prepare for global celebrity status! Congratulations to all who 'had a go' – don't forget that KesterTester83 is still open for entries. Interestingly, nobody seemed to use the clue: “But to many natives, the mere mention of the local name was met with dread and trepidation” Does nobody know why I put that in?

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