New Amphitheatre for Didim

There’s much excitement in the air as the new Amphitheatre for Didim, opening this summer season, is well on it’s way to completion. With a panoramic sea view, what better place to be situated than 2nd bay by 3rd beach and close to Luna Park.

The construction of the proposed 3,500-seat Amphitheatre has begun and was announced in April last year. It will be ready for the start of the season, all being well, so we should expect to see advertisements of forth coming concerts once it’s almost completed and the opening date is ‘officially’ announced. The work began early in 2021 and is due to complete by end of May or at least be in operation before the end of June 2022. The Town has also recently began building a new Cultural Centre, and can now be added, along with the Amphitheatre, to the list of ‘things to do in Didim’ and is close to the Didim Tax Office. It will consist of a 750-seat Hall, a 150-seat cinema with training rooms.

I hear there are people saying they think the Amphitheatre should be called an Open Air Theatre. Open Air Theatre or Amphitheatre? What do you think it should be called? It is an Open Air Theatre if it is a semi-circle shape that has a raised stage, that is usually called a Theatre. An Amphitheatre however, is usually more of a fuller circle and have a lot more seating available with just a small entrance /exit to the inside arena, and most important of all, the ‘stage’ area is ‘in the round’ or in this case ‘the semi-circle,’ on the ground.

As it stands at the moment, I’m not sure if there will be any Restaurants, cafés or shops at the top above the seating area space within the theatre, but as it comes close to finishing and further updates it will become clear. A parking lot will also be made for the use of Amphitheatre users. I think it will be a great addition to the entertainment in Didim for locals and holiday makers alike. Personally, I would like to see a totally different kind of entertainment from the usual ones from time-to-time than those we have had locally in the past. You never know, we could see alternative kinds of entertainment in the near future in Didim. What entertainment would you like to see here at the Amphitheatre or other places in Didim?

I was shocked to learn after I recently read an article in the Turkish Archaeonews by Glenn Maffia which mentions that Didim already has a ‘theatre’ though it’s at the Apollo Temple Didyma, buried in an area underground so we cannot see it. Glenn says “It is also quite amusing for me to know that Didim has a 3500-4000 seating capacity theatre already in situ. “Where?” you may ask. Slap bang alongside the Temple of Apollo upon its southern edge. Admittedly, this 1st-2nd century CE theatre rests below ground level these days, re-interred by the German archaeologists after they had excavated it in 2012.” You can read the full article which is called “Theatre Dreams or Illusion” dated 21st April, 2021.

Didyma, otherwise known as Didim these days, was a sacred place from the 8th century BC and was actually the centre of Miletos, which had a spring and sacred grove. Didyma actually means ‘twins’ and was associated with the meeting place of Leot and Zeus to have their twins Apollo and Artemis.

Today, 31st January, 2022, I took some time to visit the site and took some photos of the progress. The weather was quite pleasant as it was warm and sunny and the men went happily about their work. We exchanged a few words in Turkish as they asked me where I was from and one worker spoke to me in French and Kurdish as well as Turkish of course, and all of them were very surprised when I replied in all 3 languages after I told them I was from England. They were shocked and laughed mostly from my reply in Kurdish and then I left. I had expected it to be more advanced in the building stage, but I guess seeing as we’ve had a lot of rain since December and still have a lot more to come, there may be more delays to come.

I’m hoping that one of my favourites, Haluk Levent, will be one of the performers that will make an appearance at this Amphitheatre in the near future as well as Koray Avcı, who is another of my favourite artists I sometimes like to listen to. Koray Avcı recorded one of his songs (Ağlama Yar), a few years ago, at the Apollo Temple in the old part of Didim that some still refer to as the ancient name of Didyma. There are many Turkish solo artists and bands I could name that I would like to see here but I’m also open to experiencing new ones too. In the past, female singers such as Sıla, sang here at D-Marin Didim Marina Amphitheatre in 2015, Sezen Aksu and Hande Yener and male singers such as Kenan Doğulu, Murat Boz, Mustafa Ceceli and Duman, who also performed here in Didim in 2015 at D-Marin Didim Marina Amphitheatre. I would also love to see Şebnem Ferah and Hadise perform here at the new Amphitheatre. Let’s see! Who would you like to see perform here?

Whilst there are many Turkish Bars and Night Clubs in Altınkum, Didim, such as Medusa, Tren, Sensation, Temmuz and many others, where solo artists, duo’s and groups perform live, they are generally jam packed in the evenings and in these recent times people are more concerned about that, so live music at an Amphitheatre being an outside venue could be a welcome change and I feel the atmosphere will be just as brilliant as it is in an inside venue. Wouldn’t you agree?

I’ll be writing an update again in April with the latest photos and hopefully it will be looking a lot closer to completion by then. There could even be news of who will be performing in the exciting opening night. Hopefully, it could also be clear if there will be restaurants, cafés and any new shopping outlet’s popping up in that vicinity too. In my opinion, that would be great if there were!

~By Aleyna~
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