Located on the coast of north-west Libya, Sabratha was incorporated into the Roman Empire during the second and third century AD as a trading post, when it flourished as an outlet for wares being exported from Africa. The city, nearby to Leptis Magna, was most notable for a fantastic Roman theatre which was built during 175-200AD as part of the reconstruction of the city under Emperor Septimius Severus’s rule. The remains are some of the finest examples of Roman architecture today, as is captured in a beautiful panorama in Rafa Vjajes’ photograph.
The three storey structure had over 25 entrances and the seating, stage and backstage rooms are still present, making it the most intact Roman amphitheatre today. With the capacity to hold 5,000 people, and a stage backdrop of 25 metres, the theatre was constructed using 108 columns over 3 storeys.
Reconstructed in the 1930s by an Italian team of archaeologists, and then reopened by Mussolini to be used to hold plays, many of the original materials used in the construction have been replaced with new alternatives. Travertine marble has replaced much of the synnadic marble and white marble used in the original structure.