Ancient Roman sites

Hercules Gate

Hercules Gate is the oldest standing Roman monument in Pula, dating from the 1st century BC.
Founded: 100-0 BCE | Location: Pula, Croatia

Théâtre Antique

Théâtre Antique is a Roman age a mphitheatre in Vaison-la-Romaine, near other significant Roman ruins. It was built around the year 20 AD, due to the marble statue of the Emperor Tiberius was found in front of the royal entrance to the Theatre. It is thought that the stage wall came to 25 meters high, with a depth of 8 meters and a width of 23 meters. In 1912, many sculptures were found in the twelve pits which had been ...
Founded: 20 AD | Location: Vaison-la-Romaine, France

Salona Amphitheatre

At the northwest end of Salona’s town limits, subsequently fortified, there is an amphitheatre, which forms part of the town defence system. Its remains are comparatively well-preserved, showing the benefits of the well known reconstruction made by the Danish archaeologist Ejnar Dyggve.  Dyggve considers that the amphitheatre was designed by Roman architects who performed similar tasks elsewhere too, and that it was b ...
Founded: 2nd century AD | Location: Solin, Croatia

Durrës Roman Amphitheatre

The Amphitheatre of Durrës was built in the beginning of the 2nd century AD. It was used for performances until the 4th century AD. The earthquake of 345/346 likely damaged the monument and closed it. An early Christian chapel was constructed on the amphitheatre in the second half of the 4th century. The chapel was initially decorated with frescoes; in the 6th century, mosaics were added. A medieval chapel was built in t ...
Founded: 2nd century AD | Location: Durrës, Albania

Capitolium of Brixia

The Capitolium of Brixia was the main temple in the center of the Roman town of Brixia (Brescia). It is represented at present by fragmentary ruins, but is part of an archeological site, including a Roman amphitheatre and museum in central Brescia. The temple was built in 73 AD during the rule of emperor Vespasian. The prominent elevated location and the three identifiable cellae, each with their own polychrome marbl ...
Founded: 73 AD | Location: Brescia, Italy

Augusta Raurica

Augusta Raurica is a Roman archaeological site and an open-air museum in Switzerland located on the south bank of the Rhine river about 20 km east of Basel near the villages of Augst and Kaiseraugst. It is the oldest known Roman colony on the Rhine. Ancient history Augusta Raurica was founded by Lucius Munatius Plancus around 44 BC in the vicinity of a local Gallic tribe, the Rauraci, relatives of ...
Founded: 44 BC | Location: Augst, Switzerland

La Villasse

The Roman ruins of Vaison-la-Romaine are among some of the most important in France. Easily accessible, the two main sites that are open to the public - Puymin and La Villasse - can be found in the town centre. At la Villasse there is a Roman street leading to more baths, and the Maison au Buste d’Argent, an impressive villa with mosaic floors and its own baths.
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Vaison-la-Romaine, France

Apollonia

Apollonia was an ancient Greek city located on the right bank of the Vjosë river. Apollonia was founded in 588 BCE by Greek colonists from Corfu and Corinth, on a site where native Illyrian tribes lived, and was perhaps the most important of the several classical towns known as Apollonia. Apollonia flourished under Roman rule and was noted by Cicero in his Philippicae as magna urbs et gravis, a great and important ...
Founded: 588 BCE | Location: Fier, Albania

Salona

Salona was an ancient city and the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia. The first mention of the name Salon originates about 7th century BC as an Illyrian settlement. It is the largest archaeological park in Croatia, whose size is attested by the monumental ramparts with towers and gates, a forum with temples, an amphitheater and cemeteries with Salonian martyrs (Manastirine, Kapljuč, Marusinac). Salona was a town ...
Founded: 7th century BCE | Location: Solin, Croatia

Caños de Carmona Roman Aqueduct

The Caños de Carmona (Pipes of Carmona) are the remains of a Roman aqueduct 17.5 kilometres long, later rebuilt by the Almohads, which connected the cities of Carmona and Seville, and which was fully operational until its demolition in 1912. It was primary constructed from bricks, and consisted of approximately 400 arches standing on pillars, with additional upper arcade sections in some places. It is believed to be the ...
Founded: 68-65 BCE | Location: Seville, Spain

Via Appia Antica

The Appian Way was a Roman Road built in the 4th century BC. It led from Rome to Brindisi, and the section leading away from Rome is lined with the mausolea of weathy Roman citizens.
Founded: Early Roman | Location: Rome, Italy

Roman Bridge

The Roman Bridge (Römerbrücke) is an ancient structure in Trier over the Moselle river. It is the oldest standing bridge in the country. The nine bridge pillars date from the 2nd century AD. The upper part was renewed twice, in the early 12th and in the early 18th century, after suffering destruction in war. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier U ...
Founded: 100-200 AD | Location: Trier, Germany

The Seven Halls

The Seven Halls, or Sette Sale, is the name of the complex of cisterns located on the Oppian Hill. Previously believed to be connected to Nero"s Domus Aurea, they were later found to be a large cistern supplying the Baths of Trajan. The cisterns were fed by a branch of the Trajanic Aqueduct. Found beneath the complex were the remains of a grotto lined with slabs of marble belonging to the Domus Aurea. In the fourth c ...
Founded: c. 100 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Neptune Roman Tower

At the end of the 3rd century Arlon was fortified with the construction of ramparts. This castrum was 800 metres in circumference with walls that were 4 metres thick and 8 metres high with two gateways and around 20 watch towers. The Neptune tower was identical to the Jupiter tower recently discovered near to the Town Hall. The small museum consists of remains of the tower which were discovered during archaeological exca ...
Founded: 200-300 AD | Location: Arlon, Belgium

La Olmeda

The palatial Late Antique Roman villa at La Olmeda was built in several stages, beginning in the second quarter of the fourth century and extending in use at least to the end of the fifth. The villa complex centers on the elite quarters of rigorously symmetrical disposition, wherein twenty-seven rooms, twelve with mosaic floors, are disposed around a central patio crossed with mosaic paths in geometric patterns and ...
Founded: 350-400 AD | Location: Pedrosa de la Vega, Spain

Roman Archeological Park

In the first century BC. the Romans set their sights on the Lower Rhineland. They erected a military camp on the Fürstenberg so that they could advance into Germania to the east of the Rhine by crossing the river Lippe. After the devastating defeat of Varus by the Germanic forces led by Arminius in 9 AD, the river Rhine became the eastern frontier of the Roman empire. A port and a settlement developed north of th ...
Founded: 98 AD | Location: Xanten, Germany

Roman Temple of Nin

Remains of the Roman temple from the 1st century AD in the time of the Roman emperor Vespasian. It was the largest Roman temple on the east side of the Adriatic sea with the dimensions of 33 meters in length and 23.5m in width. It is located in the very center of Nin.
Founded: 1st century AD | Location: Nin, Croatia

Saint-Romain-en-Gal

On the border of the Rhône river, the archaeological site of Saint-Romain-en-Gal is home to the Gallo-Roman remains of an ancient district of Vienne. Its museum recounts the ancient history of Vienne and boasts a magnificent collection of mosaics. Saint-Romain-en-Gal is one of the largest Gallo-Roman sites in France. The classified site contains more than 3 hectares, where are located the remains of residential and ...
Founded: 0-300 AD | Location: Vienne, France

Crypta Neapolitana

The Crypta Neapolitana is an ancient Roman tunnel near Naples. It was built in 37 BC, and is over 700 metres long. The tunnel passes beneath the Posillipo hill and connects Naples with the so-called Phlegrean Fields and the town of Pozzuoli along the road known as the via Domiziana. The eastern Piedigrotta entrance is now enclosed within an archaeological park, and the site of the villa of Vedius Pollio, an ...
Founded: 37 BCE | Location: Napoli, Italy

Virgil's tomb

Virgil"s tomb is a Roman burial vault in Naples, said to be the tomb of the poet Virgil (70-19 BCE). It is located at the entrance to the old Roman tunnel known as the grotta vecchia or cripta napoletana in the Piedigrotta district of the city, between Mergellina and Fuorigrotta. It is a small structure, with a small dome of rocks located at the top of the park.
Founded: 19 BCE | Location: Naples, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.

Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.