Arena de Nimes

Arena de Nimes
Arena de Nimes

The Arena de Nimes is none other than the best-preserved Roman-era amphitheater. And the truth is that in this city in the south of France the monuments of its times as a colony of Rome abound, since here the temple known as the Maison Carrée, or the Torre Magna or remains of the Roman walls, built almost immediately upon the arrival of the imperial troops in the 1st century BC.


Amphitheater of Nimes

However, of all this heritage, surely the most impressive is the Arena, an amphitheater that has remained in use as a bullring until today. Something that also happens in the Amphitheater of Arles, also located in the south of Gallic territory.

We repeat that the Nimes Arena is the best preserved. It is not the largest, since its dimensions of 133 meters long by 100 wide, or its 21 meters high on the façade, are far from the size of the Colosseum in Rome or the Arena in Verona. But compared to other similar buildings in the Roman colonies, such as the Itálica Amphitheater, the truth is that the Nimes current state is spectacular.

It was built around the year 100 and was attended by up to 24,000 spectators at its peak (today its capacity is 16,000 people). At that time gladiators fought here, sometimes among themselves, and sometimes against beastswild. After that, in Visigothic times it became a fortress, and even during the Middle Ages people began to live here. In fact, it is known that much later, in the 18th century, about 700 people lived here.

And finally, late in the 19th century, it was thoroughly restored and conditioned for its main use today: the celebration of bullfights, although other cultural events also take place. And of course, there are tourist visits.

In this way you can admire its perfect oval shape from the inside, emblematic of the Roman coliseums. In fact, this type of construction was unprecedented before the Latin civilization, which made the semicircular theater inherited from the Greeks and also the stadium, also of Hellenic origin, evolve into these oval-shaped amphitheaters. Some ideal venues for the type of wrestling shows that they made fashionable and that were a complete success, not only in Rome, but in all its conquered and colonized territories.

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