Saturday, November 10, 2012

Roman Amphitheatre in Arles

The Roman Arena in Arles is one of the best preserved site in France and is still in use today.  Built by the Romans in 90 AD for chariot races and bloody hand to hand battles, it held 20,000 spectators. 

During the fifth century it became a town as 200 houses and 2 churches were built inside of the arena. 

In 1826 the buildings were removed and it was restored to the present condition that we see it in today. 

It now seats 13,000 people and is used primarily for the Camargue Bull Games, concerts and plays.  The Camargue Bull Games run from April through August each year.  Instead of killing the bulls, the participants are dressed in all white and attempt to remove a ribbon, flower or some type of ornament  that has been attached to a bull's head.  As you can see, much of the arena is below street level as the town of Arles has built up around the arena over the centuries. 
There are several other Roman sites in the city of Arles.  Vincent van Gogh painted here for several years and you can visit the sites of his famous paintings.  The town is small enough that you can walk everywhere.

No comments: