The Ancient Theatre Archive

The Theatre Architecture of Greece and Rome

Acinipo (modern Ronda la Vieja, Spain)


Modern Ronda la Vieja, Spain

Theatre Type

Roman Theatre

Earliest Date

59 / 53 BCE

Renovations / Excavations

Augustan (27 BCE-19 CE)

GPS Coordinates

Seating Capacity

2,700 - 3,400


Cavea Width: 62 meters
Orchestra Width: 18 meters


Acinipo (modern Ronda la Vieja, Spain). Roman Theatre. Cavea cut into rocky slope; width: 62 m, faces east: ima cavea 14 rows in 6 cunei; media cavea: 4 rows in 4 cunei; summa ?4 rows; seating capacity: 2,700 / 3,400; orchestra width: 21 m; stage: L. 29.4, W. 9.6; stage: 29.4 X 9.6 m; well preserved scaenae frons w / center regia door and 2 hospitalia doors; 6 aulaeum mast holes; 2 story scaenae 59-53 BCE. (Frank Sear, p. 260)

ACINIPO ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE – (modern Ronda la Vieja, Spain)


Acinipo Archaeological Site is located in the so-called “Mesa de Ronda la Vieja”, Partido Rural de Peñacerrada, at km 11.8 of the road MA-7402 that leads us in the direction of Setenil de las Bodegas, near the Ronda la Vieja Fountain.

The human presence in Acinipo began around the year 3000 B.C., although little is known about this period. In the ninth century B.C., Acinipo come into contact with the Phoenicians established on the Malaga coast, thus beginning the Iron Age. Sometime later the place was abandoned and repopulated again in the V century B.C. becoming a walled Iberian city.

The arrival of the Romans in 206 B.C. produced major changes in Acinipo, as the minting and the construction of large public buildings. The splendor of the city lasted until the second century A.C. Then Acinipo began its decline, gradually being abandoned and replaced by Ronda as the main centre of the mountain range. In Moorish times, the old theater became a watchtower.

Acinipo was known from the sixteenth century onwards as “Ronda la Vieja”. The first excavations did not begin until 1967. And although new campaigns were conducted, currently most of the city is still to be investigated.

The Theatre

The Theatre is the most important building of Acinipo. Its bleacher (cavea) (1) is excavated directly in the limestone of the place, this operation also being used as a quarry for the construction of the stage (2). The orchestra was decorated with limestone and pink marble Stone (3). Due to its constructive characteristics, the building had to be erected at the end of the 1st century BC. At that time Acinipo was a very prosperous city, which minted its own currency.

This chronology makes it one of the oldest Roman theaters in Spain. It is estimated that its capacity was about 2000 spectators since many sat at the top, where the stands were made of Wood. (4)

After the decline of the city, the theater was abandoned and its structures were used to build a watchtower of the whole environment, which was in use until the 15th century. (5)

The striking structures of the building explain that it has always been visible, as reflected in the engravings of travelers and scholars of the 19th century. theatre on the west side of town.



Last Update: 01-22-2023