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, on each side of the tourist office.
At the Puymin site, you stroll through the heart of a magnificent quarter of the ancient town. There you can see the vestiges of beautiful patrician homes: the 2000 m² House of the Wreathed Apollo and the 3000 m² Maison à la Tonnelle. The sanctuary with porticos framing a garden and a central building was a place for promenades or perhaps for worship.
Several paths lead to the Roman theatre that dates from the 1st century BC. The stage wall was 25 metres high and its 32 tiers of seats, built in a semicircle, could accommodate 7000 people. Forgotten about for several centuries, it was the Abbot Sautel who unearthed the theatre in 1912. Statues, today exhibited in the Théo Desplans Museum, were found in the pits that hid the machinery. The Roman theatre serves as an outstanding venue for many events: the Choralies, Vaison Danse, Au fil des Voix, the Semaine de Théâtre Antique...
In the centre of the Puymin site you will also find the Théo Desplans Archaeological Museum. Following a great deal of conservation work and inventorying, it today possess a big collection with more than 2000 everyday objects and an antique statuary. It presents the ancient ways of life from prehistoric times to the Gallo-Roman era. The museum is accessible to people with reduced mobility.
As you visit the site, you will see an alignment of sepulchres. In the 5th century, following a policy of rejecting everything that was pagan, the people used part of the theatre's foundations as sarcophagi.References:
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.