While our First People are known to have an extremely long history of occupation, they trod so lightly that we newcomers cannot easily read that history.
Not so here In Nîmes, where you walk up any of many streets and bang! right in front of you rises the imposing Arena, the best preserved Roman amphitheatre in the world.
They were setting up for a light and sound show that evening. How incredible for a 2000 year old venue to be still going! Not that any gladiators would be seen here now, but the range of trained and very particular fighters was unknown to me until I read about them here.
Nîmes, considered the French capital of bullfighting, holds a three-day festival, the Feria, each year, with bull runs through the streets, acrobats, musicians, parades, stalls, horsemanship and of course, bullfights.
The Arena was carefully designed to allow for Roman social classes to access and exit which of the four levels they would occupy without a crush or running into the others. It would seat 24,000.
Railings have been added but the stone seating remains the same. They were a bit of a stretch for a littlie like me.
I envisioned the hordes of tourists going up these steps tonight, the same steps that everyone since the Romans have used.
Just look at the width of the arch/wall… such huge blocks of stone.
Stones and bricks, and all still holding together.
This hole seemed deliberately done to show us that beneath the stone facing is a rubblestone wall?
Arches, arches everywhere… but I see no information as to who would have had to come up these steps from deep below
I had expected more history, with Hollywood images of lions and Christians in my head; I will have to research more.
Just look at the narrow bricks in this arched roof. Gravity-defying yet perfectly logical…
The longevity of this craftsmanship, this knowledge and planning, makes a mockery of our gimcrack disposable modern buildings, unlikely to last 200 years, as our colonial ones have done, let alone 2000.
When I visit the attached museum, I am even more agog…