The amphitheater of ancient Side is considered the main sight of the city. It is the largest remaining antique amphitheater in Turkey, and at the same time now it is in a very good condition.
The amphitheater of Side was built in II century A.D. and accommodated about 20 thousand spectators. Apart from the fact that this is the largest amphitheater, its design is unique in that most theaters of that time adjoined the hillsides, and the tiers with seats, actually, were hollowed out in the hillside. In Side the theater was built on a completely flat ground, but Roman architects erected such a monumental building with the help of arched structures.
The width of the theater is 120 meters, and the width of the stage is 29 meters. The auditorium is divided into two zones by a large horizontal passage. Totally, there were 58 rows for spectators in the theater. Spectators got in the main, lower zone of the theater through this horizontal passage. The upper zone of the theater was intended for the poor.
Judging by the stage arrangement (it was enclosed by a 1,5 m high wall) and the space under it, the theater was often used not only for performances, but also for gladiatorial fights, animal baiting and even for sea battles when the stage was filled with water.
Gradually, the wall behind the scene collapsed and its remains were used in the construction of a Christian temple (V-VI century). A temple of the Roman period dedicated to the god Dionysus was next to the theater. During the excavations on the territory of the theater they found a lot of Roman statues that it was decorated with.