The Colosseum, also spelt as Coliseum is the biggest amphitheater ever constructed within the Roman Empire. The elliptical shaped amphitheater, situated in the middle of Rome, the capital city of Italy is a structre with grobal significance. Boasting finest Roman architecture and engeneering, the Colosseum is a major tourist attraction in the whole of Italy.
Situated on the eastern part of the Roman Forum, the construction of the Colosseum began sometime in the 1st centuary AD during the reign of Emperor Vespasian. The structure was completed during the time of Titus.
The Colosseum in Rome can comfortably accommodate as many as forty-five thousand (45000) spectators. Back in the day, the amphitheater was used to carry out acts for public entertainment like reanactments of popular battles, animal hunts, mock sea battles, dramas on classical mythology and most importantly gladiator contests. However, entertainment activities were ceased in the building since the early midiavle age. Later the Colosseum was again used for purposes such as Christian shrine, quarry, fortress, quarters for religious order, workshop and housing.
The grand Colossium that we see today significantly damaged compared to what it originally used to be. This is caused due to the stone robbers and devastating earth quakes. The structure is a sign of the bygone imperial glory of Rome. It goes without saying, that the colosseum is one of major tourist hub and has close links with the Catholic Church even today. On every Good Friday the Pope leads a procession, which initiates around the colosseum area.
The Roman Coliseum boasts terrific architecture. The exterior of the structure is truly magnificent and is entirely made of travertine. The four storied amphitheater previously had 80 entrances, of which two were primary gates, specially used for the King and his entourage. Back in the day the second and third floor arches were decorated with beautiful sculptures and statues.
The interior of the Coliseum is equally beautiful if not more. There interiors were originally done with marble, tufa and bricks. However, not much of the marble can be seen today. In order to make the arena and the central area waterproof, the floor was made of wood above which there used to be a layer of sand to soak blood. Come to think about it the term ‘arena’ is derived for a Latin word which means sand. Today, nothing of it is there; the floor is exposed to the underground passages.
The arena used to be flanked by a wall of 5 meters high. This was a precaution to save the spectators from being attacked by wild animals. There used to be a podium on the top of the surrounding wall, where all VIPs and the royal party sat.
The sitting area of the Colosseum in Rome was divided into three separate tiers. The lowest section was meant for the knights, the middle for the affluent class of people and the top section was for the general public.
Roman Colosseum info:
Name: Colosseo (Colosseum), Anfiteatro Flavio (Flavian Amphitheatre), Colosseum
Location: Rome, Lazio, Italy
Time of construction: 1st century AD
Operating hours: 9:00 AM-6:15 PM (Daily during summer)
9:00 AM- 4:30 PM (Daily during winters)