The Ancient Theatre, the most impressive edifice of Roman time, was excavated during reinforcement works at the southern fortress wall. It offered almost 7 000 seats once. Nowadays it is used for staging opera and theatre festivals, concerts, municipal
celebrations, etc. The present-day downtown section of Plovdiv lies on the ruins of an enormous Roman Stadium, which had a length of 180 m and was intended for 30 000 spectators. The contests held here were similar to the Greek Olympic Games and dated back
to the rule of Emperor Septimus Severus (193 - 211 AD).