The Premonstratensian abbey in Middelburg was founded in 1127. Most of the buildings were destroyed by fire in 1492 and 1568. Today there are two adjacent churches, Koorkerk and Nieuwe Kerk. The Nieuwe Kerk dates from the 16th century, with the nearby Koorkerk abbey church dating from the 14th century. The octagonal tower, known as Lange Jan (Tall John), also originally dating from the 14th century but unfortunately has burned down several times. Its 91m height dominates the city but is difficult to photograph because of the surrounding buildings.
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.