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 built in the second half of the second century AD. Today, we can see only the lower parts of its large walls, largely reconstructed in the 1950s. During the Venetian époque, it was intentionally damaged to prevent it from being used by the Turkish units during their war with Venice in the 16th and the 17th centuries. After that, it was used as a quarry from where stone for house building was being taken, like in many other places.
It is believed that it could have accommodated about fifteen thousand, or even more, spectators. In order to enable fast entrance to and evacuation from the auditorium, a double system of communications was designed: radial, as related to the building ellipse, and circular, as related to the levels of the seat rows. Such a system is quite often at large sports’ stadiums of today. Because of its location along the northern and, partly, the western town walls. Its main entrances must have been in the south and the east walls, which is a deviation from the system comprising two entrances in the east – west longitudinal axis. On its northern side, it stood on elevated soil, some of the walls built on marl (still visible) having therefore no foundations, unlike the other sides. On the southern side, and also on parts of the western and eastern sides, it had three floors: two with arcades and the third with rectangular windows.
In the vicinity of the amphitheatre, to its south, there was a cemetery for gladiators killed in the arena. From their epitaphs, we learn their names, origins, homelands and fighting specialities.References:
The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.
The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.
The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.
During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.