Arena of Nîmes

Nîmes, France

The Arena of Nîmes is a Roman amphitheatre built around AD 70. It was remodelled in 1863 to serve as a bullring. The Arenas of Nîmes is the site of two annual bullfights during the Feria de Nîmes, and it is also used for other public events. The building encloses an elliptical central space 133 m long by 101 m wide. It is ringed by 34 rows of seats supported by a vaulted construction. It has a capacity of 16,300 spectators.

As the Roman Empire fell, the amphitheatre was fortified by the Visigoths and was surrounded by a wall. During the turbulent years that followed the collapse of Visigoth power in Hispania and Septimania, not to mention the Muslim invasion and subsequent conquest by the French kings in the mid eighth century, the viscounts of Nîmes constructed a fortified palace within the amphitheater. In 737, after failing to seize Narbonne, Charles Martel destroyed a number of Septimanian cities on his way north, including Nîmes and its amphitheatre, as asserted in the Continuations of Fredegar. Later a small neighbourhood developed within its confines, complete with one hundred denizens and two chapels. Seven hundred people lived within the amphitheatre during the apex of its service as an enclosed community. The buildings remained in the amphitheatre until the eighteenth century, when the decision was made to convert the amphitheatre into its present form.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 70 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in France
Historical period: Roman Gaul (France)

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Didac Montero Méndez (2 years ago)
The arena itself is very well preserved (apparently the best well preserved in the world according f to the audio guide). The guide provides with all sorts of detailed explanations about the gladiators. So if you're a Roman history nerd, it is a must go
rhiannon drew (2 years ago)
Really amazing arena. Really loved it here when I went to see Rammstein. I had such an amazing experience. Had a full tour of the arena during the day where you can go right to the top of the arena and really get some cool pictures. You can find out some great history about the arena itself and also it has been the best venue for a concert until this date still. Really cool and I really want to go back.
Hugo Batista (2 years ago)
Roman Theater in Nimes. A huge Roman amphitheater in the center of the city. Very well maintained. One can visit the interior. The exterior is very well preserved and in one of the corners there are restaurants and souvenir shops. Close to Maison Carre. On one end a statue in honor of the bullfighters.
Randall Jamrok (2 years ago)
This amphitheatre was a special experience. The audio tour about the specifics and history of the gladiators was very educational and well-done. I would do it again if I had the chance! Highly recommended!
Luis Rodriguez (3 years ago)
A must visit if you are in France. Majestic, one of a kind. The audio tour will take you back in time. It is also pretty friendly. Good street food. A lot of restaurants in the area.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Beckov Castle

The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.

The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.

The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.

The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.

Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.

The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.