Ancient Roman sites

Hadrian's Library

Hadrian"s Library was created by Roman Emperor Hadrian in AD 132 on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens. The building followed a typical Roman Forum architectural style, having only one entrance with a propylon of Corinthian order, a high surrounding wall with protruding niches (oikoi, exedrae) at its long sides, an inner courtyard surrounded by columns and a decorative oblong pool in the middle.The ...
Founded: 132 AD | Location: Athens, Greece

Terme Achilliane

The 'Achillian' Baths are numbered amongst the principal public bathing establishments of Roman date which survive in Catania, alongside the Terme dell"Indirizzo and the Terme della Rotonda, and constitute a mysterious and highly suggestive place. They are located beneath the Piazza Duomo and may be reached through a narrow underground passage next to the principal façade of the Cathedral. The name derive ...
Founded: 2nd century AD | Location: Catania, Italy

Palatine Hill

The Palatine Hill is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city. It stands 40 metres above the Roman Forum, looking down upon it on one side, and upon the Circus Maximus on the other. From the time of Augustus Imperial palaces were built here and hence it became the etymological origin of the word palace and its cognates in other languages (Italian palazzo, French palais, Ge ...
Founded: 10th century BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Aqueduct of Segovia

The Roman aqueduct of Segovia was built, probably in the 1st century BC, to bring water from the mountains to the hilltop settlement of Segovia. It was a massive feat of engineering as it ran for around 15 km and had to cross a wide valley before it entered the city. It was used to bring water to the town until the 19th century. Today the aquduct is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that also includes the old city and ...
Founded: 50 BCE | Location: Segovia, Spain

Roman Theatre

El Teatro Romano is the oldest survived monument in Málaga City; it is situated at the foot of the famous Alcazaba fortress. The theatre was built in the first century BC, under Emperor Augustus, and was used until the third century AD. Subsequently it was left to ruin for centuries, until the Moors settled in Andalucía. In 756-780AD the amphitheatre was used as a quarry by the Moorish settlers , to excavate the stone u ...
Founded: 100-0 BCE | Location: Málaga, Spain

Theatre of Marcellus

The Theatre of Marcellus is an ancient open-air theatre, built in 13 BC and formally inaugurated in 12 BC by Augustus. At the theatre, locals and visitors alike were able to watch performances of drama and song. Today its ancient edifice in the rione of Sant"Angelo, Rome, once again provides one of the city"s many popular spectacles or tourist sites. The theatre was 111 m in diameter and was the largest and mos ...
Founded: 13 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Mausoleum of Augustus

The Mausoleum of Augustus is a large tomb built by the Roman Emperor Augustus in 28 BC. The interior of the mausoleum is not open to tourists. The mausoleum was one of the first projects initiated by Augustus in the City of Rome following his victory at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. The mausoleum was circular in plan, consisting of several concentric rings of earth and brick, planted with cypresses on top of the building ...
Founded: 28 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Roman Agora

The original Roman Agora was encroached upon and obstructed by a series of Roman buildings, beginning with the imperial family"s gift to the Athenians of a large odeion (concert hall). The Odeon of Agrippa was built by him in around 15 BC, and measured 51.4 by 43.2 metres, rose several stories in height, and – being sited just north of the Middle Stoa – obstructed the old agora. In return for the odeion, the A ...
Founded: 19-11 BC | Location: Athens, Greece

Temple of Portunus

The Temple of Portunus or Temple of Fortuna Virilis ('manly fortune') is one of the best preserved of all Roman temples. Its dedication remains unclear, as ancient sources mention several temples in this area of Rome, without saying enough to make it clear which this is. The temple was originally built in the third or fourth century BC but was rebuilt between 120-80 BC, the rectangular building consists of a tetrastyle p ...
Founded: 120-80 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Largo di Torre Argentina

Largo di Torre Argentina is a square that hosts four Republican Roman temples, and the remains of Pompey"s Theatre. The name of the square comes from the Torre Argentina, which takes its name from the city of Strasbourg, whose Latin name was Argentoratum. The four temples, originally designated by the letters A, B, C, and D, front onto a paved street, which was reconstructed in the imperial era, after the fire of AD ...
Founded: 300-400 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Temple of Hercules Victor

The Temple of Hercules Victor is a monopteros, a round temple of Greek "peripteral" design completely encircled by a colonnade. Dating from the later 2nd century BC, and perhaps erected by L. Mummius Achaicus, conqueror of the Achaeans and destroyer of Corinth, the temple is 14.8 m in diameter and consists of a circular cella within a concentric ring of twenty Corinthian columns. These elements supported an ar ...
Founded: 200-100 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Roman bridge of Córdoba

The Roman bridge of Córdoba was originally built in the early 1st century BC across the Guadalquivir river, though it has been reconstructed at various times since. Most of the present structure dates from the Moorish reconstruction in the 8th century. Currently, after the Islamic reconstruction, has 16 arcades, one fewer than originally, and a total length of 247 meters. The width is around 9 meters. The Via Augusta, ...
Founded: 1st century BCE | Location: Córdoba, Spain

Roman Baths of Campo Valdes

These thermae (Roman baths) of Gijón are considered one of the most important sites in northern Spain. Campo Valdés are a site museum on baths dating from the Early Empire. They are located in front of the Church of San Pedro under Campo Valdés Gardens, at sea level. The baths were discovered in 1903, remaining hidden from the public until 1965. Located outside the Roman walls, the baths consisted of two distinct un ...
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Gijón, Spain

Tower of Hercules

The Tower of Hercules (Torre de Hércules) is an ancient Roman lighthouse on a peninsula about 2.4 km from the centre of A Coruña. The structure is 55 metres (180 ft) tall and overlooks the North Atlantic coast of Spain. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009. It is the second-tallest lighthouse in Spain. The tower is known to have existed by the 2nd century, built or perhaps rebuilt under Trajan, possibly ...
Founded: 2nd century AD | Location: A Coruña, Spain

Arch of Hadrian

The Arch of Hadrian is a monumental gateway resembling – in some respects – a Roman triumphal arch. It spanned an ancient road from the center of Athens, to the complex of structures on the eastern side of the city that included the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It has been proposed that the arch was built to celebrate the adventus (arrival) of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and to honor him for his many benefactions ...
Founded: 131-132 AD | Location: Athens, Greece

Roman Forum

Roman Forum of Zadar is the largest on the eastern side of the Adriatic sea, founded by the first Roman Emperor Augustus, as shown by two stone inscriptions about its completion dating from the 3rd century.  Ancient Zadar (or Iadera as the Romans would say) was a Roman colony from 48BC until the disintegration of the Roman empire in the 5th century. After a violent earthquake in the 6th century, the buildings surroundin ...
Founded: 1st century AD | Location: Zadar, Croatia

Roman Walls of Córdoba

The Roman Walls which once surrounded Córdoba, Spain, were built after the Romans captured the city in 206 BC, making it part of the Roman Republic. Built as fortifications soon after the Romans captured Córdoba, the walls stretched some 2,650 m, completely surrounding the city. They consisted of carefully cut stone with an outer wall of up to 3 m high and a 1.2 m inner wall flanking a gap 6 m wide filled with rubble. ...
Founded: 206 BCE | Location: Córdoba, Spain

Macellum of Naples

The Macellum of Naples was the macellum or market building of the Roman city of Neapolis, now known as Naples. Due to the rise of the ground level the macellum is now located beneath the church of San Lorenzo Maggiore. The first construction dates to 5th or 4th century BC when the area was the location of the agora during the Greek period. When Neapolis became a Roman possession it was eventually transformed int ...
Founded: 400-500 BCE | Location: Naples, Italy

Circus Maximus

The Circus Maximus was a chariot racetrack in Rome first constructed in the 6th century BCE. The Circus was also used for other public events such as the Roman Games and gladiator fights and was last used for chariot races in the 6th century CE. It was partially excavated in the 20th century and then remodelled but it continues today as one of the modern city's most important public spaces, hosting huge crowds at music co ...
Founded: 6th century BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Villa Romana del Casale

The Villa Romana del Casale is a large and elaborate Roman villa or palace located about 3 km from Piazza Armerina. Excavations have revealed one of the richest, largest, and varied collections of Roman mosaics in the world, for which the site has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mosaic and opus sectile floors cover some 3,500 sq metres and are almost unique in their excellent state of preservation ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Piazza Armerina, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Abbey of Saint-Étienne

The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.

Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.

The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.

As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).